Serb Economy Ends Recession After Shrinking a 10th Since 2013

Serbia’s economy expanded for the first time since 2013, exiting a five-quarter recession that wiped out almost a 10th of the former Yugoslav state’s economic output.

The economy grew 0.9 percent between April and June compared with a year earlier, following a 1.8 percent contraction in the first quarter, the statistics office said on Friday. The growth defied a median expectation of a 1.4 percent decline in a Bloomberg survey.

Serbia’s economy, which has suffered three recessions since 2008, is still almost 4 percent smaller than when the global economic crisis erupted that year. The country of 7.2 million people is struggling to return to growth even as Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic’s government pursues cost cuts and tax increases as part of a three-year standby program with the International Monetary Fund.

The dinar was little changed at 120.154 against the euro at 12:05 p.m. in Belgrade.

Vucic sees full-year growth at between 0.5 percent and 1 percent this year, he said on Wednesday. Data also showed June industrial output increased 18.6 percent versus a year earlier.

The IMF has raised Serbia’s 2015 economic outlook estimate to zero growth from a previously expected 0.5 percent decline.

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