EBRD’s Sanfey Sees ‘Great Uncertainty’ in Balkans for 2012

Southeastern Europe’s economy will face “great uncertainty” in 2012 because of “events taking place globally,” said Peter Sanfey, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s lead economist.

“Back in October, we expected 2 or 3 percent for the region and 1.3 percent to 1.4 percent for Serbia,” Sanfey said in a conference today in Belgrade. “But as of now, this looks optimistic.”

The numbers “are more likely to go to a downward direction” when the bank updates its forecasts in January, he said.

The weaker growth will also result in lower current-account deficits across the region, which includes Albania, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia, mainly due to declining capital inflows, at least in the short-term.

The EBRD expects its lending to Serbia this year to reach 530 million euros ($712 million) compared with 590 million euros in 2010, the bank’s country manager Hildegard Gacek said, adding that the lender had “a quite good target” for 2012 with a continued focus on private businesses and helping create new jobs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gordana Filipovic in Belgrade at gfilipovic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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