Serbia’s public debt increases 7.1% y/y to EUR 20.4bn at end-Feb 2014.

By bne IntelliNews March 21, 2014

Serbia’s public debt rose 7.1% y/y to EUR 20.4bn at end-February 2014, cooling from a 15.3% y/y hike the month before, finance ministry data showed. The reading equalled to 62.9% of the full-year GDP forecast, up from 58.7% a year ago, according to IntelliNews calculations.

In monthly terms, the public debt stock went up by 1.0% in February after edging up 0.5% in January.

End-February public debt, excluding state guarantees, rose 8.2% y/y to EUR 17.6bn (86% share of total debt). The state guarantees inched up 0.5% y/y to EUR 2.8bn at end-February.

Serbia’s public debt grew 13.7% y/y to EUR 20.1bn at end-2013, retreating from a 22.2% hike a year ago, the public debt administration has said earlier. The public debt to GDP ratio reached 61.2% at end-2013, up from 60% at end-2012, touching its highest level since 2004. The public debt has been moving above the legal limit of 45% of GDP since 2011, when it stood at 48.2% of GDP.

Serbia’s public indebtedness will likely continue increasing in 2014 as the country seeks to finance its rising budget gap which is projected to reach 7.1% of GDP. Serbia plans borrow EUR 5.6bn in 2014, out of which EUR 3.0bn on the international markets.

According to the government’s 2014 fiscal strategy, the public debt should increase to 67.2% of GDP in 2014. It is forecast to stabilise at around 70% of GDP in 2015 and 2016 before starting to gradually decline in 2017, mainly due to falling budget deficits.

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