Friday, 31 May 2019

Construction Output Increases 11.2% in March, Record High since 2008

ZAGREB, May 31, 2019 - The volume of construction work in Croatia in March 2019 was 11.2% higher than in March 2018 and up by 13.7% in Q1 compared to Q1 last year, making it the best quarter since Q1 2008, data from the State Bureau of Statistics (DZS) show.

Month on month, construction output in March was down 2% compared to February.

The volume of works on buildings increased by 9.1% and by 14.4% on other structures year on year.

According to the DZS, other structures include roads, railways, pipelines, bridges, dams, sports grounds and the like.

According to DZS figures in the first three months of the year, construction activities increased by 13.7% compared to the same period last year.

Works to buildings in that period increased by 12.7% and infrastructure and public works increased by 15.2%.

The number of building permits issued in Q1 was up by 8.1% and the value of works to be conducted increased by 25.6% in that period.

The Central Finance and Contracting Agency (SAFU) informed that currently there are more than 300 construction sites around the country with almost 500 contracts valued at 23 billion kuna.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) commented that "growth in construction activities attract higher amounts from EU Funds. That is still being thwarted however by the lack of construction workers, HGK concluded.

More news about Croatian economy can be found in the Business section.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Imports, Exports, Foreign Trade Deficit Increase

ZAGREB, May 24, 2019 - Croatian exports in 2018 totalled 107.9 billion kuna, up 3.2% on 2017, while imports totalled 176.2 billion kuna, up 7.9%, putting the trade deficit at 68.3 billion kuna, up 16%, the national statistical office said on Friday. The export-import ratio was 61.2%, whereas in 2017 it was 64%.

In 2018, the EU market accounted for nearly 69% of Croatian exports, up 9.3% on the year to 74.2 billion kuna, and for 78% of imports, which increased 7.9% to 176.2 billion kuna.

Croatia is in the top five of EU member states which generated more than three-thirds of their imports from other member states.

In 2018, Croatia's main trade partners in the EU were Germany, Italy and Slovenia. Nearly 15% of Croatian exports went to Italy, up 10% on 2017, totalling 15.8 billion kuna. Croatian imports from Germany accounted for over 15% of all imports, going up 7.2% from 2017. Trade with Slovenia accounted for almost 11% of all Croatian exports and imports in 2018. Exports went up 6.2% to 11.9 billion kuna, while imports were up 12.2% to 12.2 billion kuna.

Croatia's exchange of commodities with third countries accounted for 31% of all exports, which dropped 8%, and nearly 22% of all imports, which increased 8% in comparison with 2017.

Croatia's main trade partners outside the EU were Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and China. In 2018, 9% of Croatian exports were made to BiH, down 1% on the year to 10.1 billion kuna, while imports increased 6.4% to 5.4 billion kuna.

Exports to Serbia dropped 5.5% to 4.7 billion kuna, while imports went up 3.8% to 4.3 billion kuna.

Exports to China stood at 989.4 million kuna, up 18.%, while imports were 5.9 billion kuna, up 15.1%.

More news about Croatian economy can be found in the Business section.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Croatia Has Biggest Monthly Decline in Retail Sales in EU

ZAGREB, May 6, 2019 - In March 2019 compared with February 2019, Croatia was in a group of EU countries with the biggest decline in the volume of retail sales but it was also in a group of countries recording the biggest annual increase of the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade, according to figures released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

According to seasonally and working day-adjusted data, the volume of retail sales in Croatia in March was down 1.9% on the month.

In the euro area in March 2019, compared with February 2019, the volume of retail trade increased by 0.6% for food, drinks and tobacco, while automotive fuel decreased by 0.6% and non-food products by 0.4%.

In the EU28, the retail trade volume increased by 0.5% for food, drinks and tobacco and by 0.2% for non-food products, while automotive fuel remained stable.

Among Member States for which data are available, the largest increases in the total retail trade volume were registered in Lithuania (+1.7%), Portugal (+1.2%) and the United Kingdom (+1.1%).

The highest decreases were observed in Slovenia (-3.1%), Croatia (-1.9%) and Austria (-0.8%).

In the euro area in March 2019, compared with March 2018, the volume of retail trade increased by 3.0% for non-food products, by 1.4% for automotive fuels and by 0.7% for food, drinks and tobacco.

In the EU28, the retail trade volume increased by 4.4% for non-food products, by 4.1% for automotive fuel and by 0.4% for food, drinks and tobacco.

Among Member States for which data are available, the highest yearly increases in the total retail trade volume were registered in Ireland (+10.8%), Romania (+9.3%), Croatia and Luxembourg (both +8.6%).

Decreases were observed for Slovakia (-2.0%), Austria (-1.0%) and Belgium (-0.9%).

More news about Croatian economy can be found in the Business section.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Sales of New Cars Stagnate in January-April Period

ZAGREB, May 6, 2019 - A total of 20,772 new cars were sold in Croatia in the first four months of 2019, or 0.5 percent fewer than at the same time in 2018, according to data released by Promocija Plus agency.

The best-selling car model in the January-April period was the Skoda Octavia, with 1,180 vehicles sold and a market share of 5.7 percent. It was followed by the Renault Clio, with 1,129 units sold and a market share of 5.4 percent, and the Volkswagen Golf, with 682 units sold and a market share of 3.3 percent.

The top ten models included the Suzuki Vitara (644 units sold), Dacia Sandero (607), Dacia Duster (600), Opel Astra (581), Volkswagen T-Roc (542), Renault Captur (486) and Volkswagen Tiguan (472).

In terms of market share, Volkswagen led with 13.6 percent, ahead of Renault (10.8 percent), Skoda (10 percent) and Opel (8.3 percent).

Of the total number of cars sold in the first four months of the year, 59 percent were powered by petrol and 38 percent by diesel, 0.2 percent were electric cars, 0.6 percent were powered by natural gas, and 2.7 percent were hybrids.

In April 2019 alone, 8,633 new passenger cars were sold, or 71 percent more than in March 2019 and 23 percent more than in April 2018. The best-selling model was the Renault Clio, ahead of the Skoda Octavia and Opel Astra.

More news about car sales in Croatia can be found in the Business section.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.4%

ZAGREB, May 6, 2019 - A workforce survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (DZS) shows that the number of gainfully employed people in Croatia continued to grow, while the unemployment rate declined to 8.4 percent in 2018.

Last year, 1.655 million people in Croatia were employed, an increase of 30,000 from 2017. Figures for the past four years show that their number rose from 1.585 million in 2015 to 1.59 million in 2016 to 1.625 million in 2017.

The employment rate, as a percentage of employed persons in the total working-age population, was 46.9 percent in 2018, up 1.1 percentage point from 2017. Compared with 2016 and 2015, it increased by 2.3 and 2.7 percentage points respectively.

The survey, which follows the methodology used by Eurostat and the International Labour Organisation, also revealed a decline in the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate.

Last year, 152,000 people in Croatia were out of work, down from 306,000 in 2015, 240,000 in 2016 and 205,000 in 2017. The unemployment rate, as a percentage of unemployed persons in the active population, fell from 16.2 percent in 2015 to 13.1 percent in 2016 to 11.2 percent in 2017 and to 8.4 percent in 2018.

Last time the unemployment rate was below 10 percent was in 2009, when it stood at 8 percent, while the highest unemployment rate, of 17.3 percent, was recorded in 2013 and 2014.

Analysts say that the decline in the average unemployment rate in recent years is due to a decline in the number of unemployed persons as well as to a decline in the active population and working-age population.

The size of the active population decreased to 1.807 million in 2018 from 1.83 million in 2017 and 2016. Compared with 2015, when it was 1.891 million, their number shrank by 84,000.

The activity rate, as a percentage of the active population (workforce) in the working-age population, was 51.2 percent in 2018, down by 0.4 percentage points from 2017 and by 1.5 percentage points from 2015.

The decrease in the activity rate was due to an ongoing fall in the working-age population, contracting by 56,000, from 3.587 million in 2015 to 3.531 million in 2018.

The working-age population has been decreasing for the last nine years, with analysts warning that Croatia, like other European countries, is experiencing the process of demographic ageing coupled with emigration of the most productive section of the working-age population.

More unemployment news can be found in the Business section.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Economic Sentiment Deteriorates Markedly in April

ZAGREB, April 29, 2019 - Economic sentiment in Croatia deteriorated markedly in April on a wave of pessimism in the retail and construction sectors, which offset the very good consumer sentiment, the latest monthly survey conducted by the European Commission showed on Monday.

The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) for Croatia was 112.2 points in April, down by 3.2 points from the previous month, ending two months of increased optimism.

Retail trade confidence fell the most, by 6.7 points to 9.5 points. Construction confidence decreased by 6.2 points to 15.1 points, after reaching its highest level in March since the Commission began tracking data for Croatia.

Industry confidence contracted by 5.9 points to 5.8 points, and services confidence by 3.4 points to 22.5 points.

The only bright note was consumer confidence, which increased by 2.8 points to its highest ever level of minus 3.4 points.

Economic sentiment also decreased in the EU, with the ESI sliding by 1.5 points from March to 103.7 points.

Industry confidence and consumer confidence fell the most, by 2.3 points each. Construction confidence dropped by 1.2 points, consumer confidence declined by 0.6 points and retail trade confidence by 0.4 points. On the other hand, services confidence increased by 0.4 points.

Among the largest non-euro area EU economies, economic sentiment shrank the most in Poland and the United Kingdom, by 3.7 and 1.5 points respectively.

The ESI for the euro area also decreased markedly in April, sliding by 1.5 points from March to 104 points.

More news about Croatian economy can be found in the Business section.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Foreign Trade Concentrated in Zagreb and Few Counties

ZAGREB, April 28, 2019 - A study of foreign trade involving Croatian counties shows that last year foreign trade remained strongly concentrated on Zagreb, which accounted for nearly a third of total exports and nearly half of imports, and on a small number of other regions.

According to the study, conducted by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) and released earlier this week, Croatia exported 107.7 billion kuna worth of goods in 2018, of which 33.28 billion or 30.9% accounted for companies based in Zagreb. Imports totalled 175.5 billion kuna, and Zagreb's share was 48.9%, with companies based in the capital importing goods worth 85.8 billion kuna.

Croatia is divided into 20 counties plus the City of Zagreb as a separate administrative unit.

The study revealed that the first five largest exporting counties accounted for 53.3% of Croatia's total exports and the first ten counties for as much as 72.1%. The concentration of imports is even more pronounced as the top 5 ranking counties imported 71.5% of total imports and the top 10 as much as 83.3%.

"The value of exports generated by the City of Zagreb is 154 times that of Dubrovnik-Neretva County and the value of imports is as much as 596 times higher than that of Lika-Senj County, the county with the least imports. The value of per-capita exports in the top ranking Međimurje County is as much as 26 times higher than in Dubrovnik-Neretva County," the study noted.

Eleven counties generated a trade surplus, the highest being posted by Sisak-Moslavina County with 1.27 billion kuna. The largest deficit was recorded by the City of Zagreb, of 52.5 billion kuna, which mostly affected the national foreign trade balance as last year Croatia recorded a foreign trade deficit of 67.8 billion kuna.

More economic news can be found in the Business section.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

180,000 Tourists Visit Croatia During Easter Weekend

ZAGREB, April 24, 2019 - During the Easter weekend, as many as 179,513 tourists arrived in Croatia, generating 566,687 overnight stays, according to the figures collected by the eVisitor online tourist registration service.

The Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) said on Wednesday that the arrivals and overnight stays from 19 April (Friday) to 22 April (Monday) jumped by 80% and 90% compared to last year's Easter weekend which was from 30 March to 2 April.

The most numerous guests were Germans (124,229) and they were followed by Italian passport holders (58,205) and guests from Austria ((48,975) and lovenia (33,136).

The most sought-after destinations were in the coastal areas, including Istria, a larger Rijeka area and Dalmatia.

Broken by city, Dubrovnik was the top performer with 53,978 overnight stays during this Easter weekend. One of the most prominent guests in the southern Croatian seaside resort this past weekend was Juventus striker Christiano Ronaldo, who was accompanied by his family during the holidays.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce reported on Tuesday that the consumption during the Easter weekend totalled 1.4 billion kuna (190 million euro).

More tourism news can be found in the Travel section.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

1.38 Million Employed Persons in March, Unemployment Down to 9.5%

ZAGREB, April 23 (Hina) - There were 1.38 million employed persons in Croatia at the end of March 2019, which is 0.6% more than at the end of February, while the registered unemployment rate dropped from 10.2% to 9.5%, show figures from the national statistical office (DZS).

According to DZS statistics, there were 1,384,227 employed persons at the end of March, 8,643 more than at the end of February.

Most of the employed persons, 1,181,459, worked in legal entities, an increase of 6,083 or 0.5% compared to the previous month.

According to the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ), there were 145,801 job-seekers at the end of March, a decrease of 6.8% or 10,577 fewer job-seekers than in the previous month and an 18.1% decline compared to March 2018.

The registered unemployment rate, which is the ratio of unemployed persons to the labour force, thus dropped to 9.5% while at the end of February it was 10.2%.

More unemployment news can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Nearly 70% of Vehicles in Croatia More Than a Decade Old

ZAGREB, April 18, 2019 - Croatia has a relatively old vehicle fleet in all vehicle categories, with the average age of passenger cars at 12.6 years, motorcycles and mopeds at 12.5 years and tractors at over 30 years old, according to data from the Croatian Centre Centre for Vehicles.

Last year, 79,935 used passenger cars and 61,745 new ones were registered, as imports of used vehicles continued to grow, especially after the country joined the European Union.

The statistics showed that as many as 68.4 percent of cars were more than a decade old.

In other categories, buses were on average 11.7 years old, trucks 11.4 years and trailers 19.1 years old.

The Centre for Vehicles noted that a vehicle's age affects its roadworthiness. "Over 400,000 vehicles registered in 2018 did not have any of the modern braking systems installed (ABS or ABS+ESAP), which can greatly affect road safety," it said.

Last year, 431,538 cars were found to be technically faulty and were ordered off the road until the faults and shortcomings identified were removed.

The European Commission has set a goal to reduce the number of road fatalities by 50 percent over the next decade.

The Centre for Vehicles says that this goal can be achieved only through closer cooperation between all road safety stakeholders, better control and targeted financing of measures.

More car news can be found in the Business section.

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