Serb Coffers `Amply Filled’ on Stable Budget, Dinkic Says

Serbia’s Treasury is “amply filled,” outgoing Finance Minister Mladjan Dinkic said, after a former coalition partner warned the Balkan state had enough cash to last only until the end of next month.

Dinkic, whose United Regions of Serbia party agreed to quit the ruling coalition this week after he was dismissed by Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, may stay on until parliament approves a new government in a vote that may come on Aug. 25, the finance minister said in a news conference in Belgrade.

The coalition’s breakup has cut the government’s majority to one vote in the 250-seat parliament and may increase pressure on it to clinch a deal with the International Monetary Fund to backstop public finances. Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic on July 31 that the government had enough cash to pay wages, pensions and other obligations through the end of September. Dacic said cash flow would depend on his replacement.

“It all depends on the dynamics in the coming months, whether whoever succeeds me maintains this rhythm of revenue and this rhythm of expenses,” he said. “The reserve I’m leaving may last longer. It all depends on how they handle it.”

The budget “stabilized” in June and the 2013 full-year deficit would shrink to about two-thirds of the country’s financing shortfall from last year, he said.

Narrower Deficit

The unconsolidated budget deficit narrowed to 2.8 billion dinars ($33 million) for the month of July, compared with 4.3 billion dinars the previous month, according to data from the Finance Ministry issued in a statement today. The seven-month deficit was 100.7 billion dinars, compared with a full-year target of 178.3 billion dinars.

Tax collection rose 19 percent last month to 73.6 billion dinars. The June and July results were much lower than the average 18.7 billion-dinar deficits for the first five months of the year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The government had 784 million euros ($1 billion) in its accounts on July 31, Dinkic said. Serbia has 102.42 billion dinars in debt coming due by the end of the year.

Serbia needs $3 billion to repay expensive loans to reduce debt servicing costs, seen at 90 billion dinars this year, Dinkic said. Without refinancing, costs will swell to 110 billion dinars in 2014, he said.

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