Serb Current-Account Gap Falls; Portfolio Capital Outflows Rise

Serbia’s current-account deficit shrank in April amid rising exports and remittances even as portfolio investors pulled out of Serbian assets for the first time since last July.

The gap of 135.5 million euros ($179.03 million) in April was 37 percent lower than in the same month last year and fell 59 percent from a revised 331.3 million euros in March. The four-month cumulative gap fell 46 percent on year to 757.8 million euros, according to data published by the National Bank of Serbia on its website today.

Portfolio investors withdrew a net 304.2 million euros in April, selling government debt for the first time since July 2012. Other outflows included a repayment of 128 million euros in trade financing and a 173.8 million-euro drop in cash and deposits at banks, the balance of payments figures show.

Exports grew 24 percent in the first four months while imports rose 3.7 percent on year. Remittances were 19 percent higher on the year at 683.9 million euros. Net foreign direct investments stood at a four-month total of 217.3 million euros, compared with a minus 240 million euros in the same period last year.

The central bank sees this year’s current account gap at 8.5 percent of gross domestic product, up from initially forecast 8.1 percent of GDP, to reflect a higher-than-planned fiscal deficit. The current account deficit stood at 10.5 percent of GDP in 2012.

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