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Serbian External Liquidity Indicators Worsen, Central Bank Says

Serbia’s external liquidity indicators deteriorated in May as the debt-servicing ratio gained more than 14 percentage points and public debt topped 54 percent of economic output, the central bank said.

The debt-servicing ratio, the share of principal and interest to export revenue, rose to 42.6 percent from 28.3 percent in April, according to an update of the central bank’s external indicators report, posted on the Belgrade-based institution’s website today.

Public debt rose to 54.4 percent of gross domestic product in May, from 52.8 percent in April and 50.7 percent at the end of the first three-month period, the report showed. Fiscal rules limit public debt-to-GDP ratio at 45 percent.

Serbia’s new coalition government, which agreed on a program outline yesterday, may need to ask the International Monetary Fund to allow it to reschedule or write off debts, Stojan Stamenkovic, chief economist at Serbia’s Economics Institute, told reporters in Belgrade yesterday.

Debt repayments equaled 18 percent of GDP in May, up from 11.6 percent in April. Foreign debt rose to 79.3 percent of GDP in May, a rise of 2.3 percentage points in the month, the report showed.

The central bank’s report also showed preliminary data for the current-account deficit of 219 million euros ($269 million) in May, pushing the five-month total to 1.6 billion euros.

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