Montenegro’s Q1 GDP seen up 5% y/y, vice c-bank governor Fabris says

By bne IntelliNews May 22, 2013

The Montenegrin economy probably expanded by 5% y/y in the first quarter of 2013 considering that most macroeconomic indicators performed surprisingly good in the period and beat all expectation, vice c-bank governor in charge of financial stability Nikola Fabris said earlier in May.

“However, we should not be too happy with such a result bearing in mind that the year-ago basis was very low as we had bad weather and a good part of the economic activity was simply blocked,” Fabris told state radio station Radio Crne Gore, reminding the GDP contracted 2.5% in Jan-Mar 2012.

According to him, the positive first-quarter performance certainly suggests the country will post a GDP growth this year after the economy shrank 0.5% last year. The central bank made last year a forecast for a 1.7% GDP growth this year and Fabris said that before the monetary authority revises its estimate it should await data for the second quarter – first, because the Q1 y/y comparison is not very representative considering the poor weather in early 2012 and second, because the performance of the tourism sector, which is key for the country’s economy and is connected with many other economic sectors, will be better visible in the summer months.

Still, Fabris said he expects the bank might raise its 2013 GDP growth forecast to around 2.5%, expressing his belief the tourism will also post a solid growth.

In the first quarter, the industrial output rose 3.3% y/y, the construction industry saw a 5.7% growth in terms of value and a 33% surge in effective labour hours terms. The trade sector was up almost 9%, the forestry climbed 8.5%, while most types of transport also raised their activity volumes, Fabris said.

In early May, the EBRD revised upwards Montenegro’s 2013 GDP growth forecast to 1% from 0.8% in January. The IMF and the European Commission see the economy gaining 1.2% and 1.8%, respectively, while the government’s estimate for 2.5% GDP expansion remains most optimistic.

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