Serbian Economic Contraction Eased in Final Three Months of 2012

Serbia’s economy shrank 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 from a year earlier, bringing the full-year contraction to an estimated 1.7 percent.

The decline follows three quarters of falling economic output in a year when agriculture contracted 17.5 percent, the national statistics office in Belgrade said today in a preliminary estimate. GDP fell 2.5 percent in the third quarter, after a 0.6 percent contraction in the second quarter and a 2.3 percent drop in the first three months.

The full-year estimate compares with a Dec. 28 forecast of a 1.9 percent drop, Andra Milojic, deputy general manager of the statistics office, told reporters in Belgrade.

Premier Ivica Dacic’s Cabinet, in office since July, has pushed through a mix of fiscal consolidation and economic stimulus to restore order to public finances while encouraging cheaper lending to companies to boost growth and jobs.

They see the economy, in its second recession in three years, expanding 2 percent in 2013 as Italy’s Fiat SpA steps up production at its car plant in Serbia and the NIS oil monopoly expands exports from an upgraded unit near Belgrade.

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