The major indices in South East Europe ended mixed over a holiday-shortened week with many markets closed on Friday, in line with most European bourses in observance of Catholic Good Friday.
The economic growth of the 11 EU member states from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE-11) will slow down to between 2% and 3% on average in 2022, Berlin-based Scope Ratings said on Tuesday, slashing in half its earlier projection of 4.6%, as the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine takes its toll across the region. Meanwhile, the Western Balkans region comprising Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, will record economic growth of 3.2% this year, the World Bank said.
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Greek stocks as measured by the Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index returned 1.40%. The military conflict in Ukraine will affect Greece’s growth rate, inflation and tourism, according to a new report by Moody’s Analytics. The baselines scenario provides for GDP growth of 4.5% for 2022 while the adverse scenario provides for GDP growth of just 1.9% in 2022 and 1.5% in 2023. Inflation this year will come to a historic high of 7.7% before easing to 3% next year.
Belgrade’s bourse ended the week with 0.92% growth. The World Bank expects Serbia’s gross domestic product (GDP) to increase by 3.2% in 2022, the Washington-based lender said in its Europe and Central Asia Economic Update, Spring 2022 report, revising downwards its October forecast for 4.5% growth. “The war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia will certainly have an impact on Serbia’s exports, FDI, remittances and tourism revenues. Having in mind the significance of these flows, growth for 2022 could be revised downwards to 3.2%. Further revisions are possible depending on the length of the war and the scope of sanctions toward Russia,” it said.
In Romania, stocks were mostly higher this week. Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) published on Monday its first environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting guidelines for listed companies, developed with the technical assistance of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
On the macro front, Romania’s consumer price inflation accelerated to 10.2% in March. Half of the local financial-banking analysts expect Romania’s annual inflation rate to range between 8% and 10% at the end of 2022 while 35% expect an inflation rate above 10%, according to a survey by the Association of Romanian Financial and Banking Analysts (AAFBR) regarding the economic impact of the war in Ukraine.
In other news, Romania’s new offshore law has been submitted to the Parliament on Friday, Energy Minister Virgil Popescu said.
Slovenia’s benchmark SBITOP index plunged 2.32% as of Thursday’s close. Parliamentary elections will be held in the country on 24 April 2022.
Cypriot stock market returns were positive. On the banking front, nonperforming loans in the Cypriot credit system have now dropped to 2.3 billion euros, according to the latest figures published by the Central Bank of Cyprus. In commodities news, Cyprus and Lebanon are ready to cooperate and exploit undersea gas fields between the two countries, according to Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib, who was on an official visit to the island Friday where he met his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides.
Montenegro’s economic growth is expected to accelerate to 3.6% this year and 4.7% in 2023, the World Bank said in Europe and Central Asia Economic Update. In October, the lender projected that Montenegro’s economy will grow by 5.6% in 2022. “The outlook is fragile in an environment of increasing uncertainties. The outbreak of the war in Ukraine and the associated developments have significantly worsened the outlook for Montenegro, reducing the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate to 3.6% in 2022,” it said.
Bosnia’s SASX10 index soared by 4.70% this week. The Sarajevo Stock Exchange (SASE) said on Thursday that an auction is scheduled for the purchase of shares of the SASE on 30.05.2022. Its shareholder Alma Ahmic will offer for sale 300 shares.
Bulgarian stocks as measured by the SOFIX index increased by 1.08% this week. The IMF, which concluded a staff visit to Sofia, sees Bulgaria’s growth prospects dented by the war in Ukraine
“Growth is tentatively projected near 3 percent this year, while inflation will likely reach double digits” it said in a statement. More positively, Bulgaria’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.8% in March, employment agency data showed.
SKOPJE, N. MACEDONIA
No data available. To be added in due course.
Croatian stock market returns were negative for the week with the CROBEX falling 0.60%. The country’s annual inflation rate increased by 7.3% in March. Croatia’s central bank lowered the 2022 GDP growth forecast to 3.2% and lifted its inflation projection.
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Kyriaki Balkoudi is a markets editor for World Markets Daily. She has a bachelor’s degree in Balkans Studies from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece and a master’s degree in International Politics from City University London, UK.