Saturday, 7 December 2019

Record Number of Air Passengers in EU in 2018, Croatia Sees 10% Rise

ZAGREB, December 7, 2019 - In 2018, Croatia was among the EU member states with two-digit increases in the number of air passengers, while at EU level the number was the highest since Eurostat has been keeping records, the EU's statistical office said on Friday.

In 2018, 1.1 billion passengers travelled by air in the European Union, up by 6% compared with 2017 and by 43% compared with 2010.

In 2018, intra-EU transport represented 46% of total air passenger transport in the EU and extra-EU transport 37%, while national transport accounted for fewer than 1 in every 5 passengers (16%).

The number of air passengers carried in 2018 rose in all member states compared with 2017. The highest increases were registered in Lithuania (+19%), Latvia, Poland and Slovakia (all +16%), Estonia and Hungary (both +14%), Malta (+13%), Luxembourg (+12%) and Finland (+11%).

Croatia recorded 9.73 million air passengers in 2018, up 10% on the year, with 7.49 million travelling intra-EU, 1.7 million extra-EU and 528,000 within Croatia.

The lowest increase was registered in Sweden (+1%), followed by the United Kingdom (+3%), Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands (all +4%).

London/Heathrow remained the EU’s busiest passenger airport in 2018, with 80 million passengers handled, followed by Paris/Charles de Gaulle (72 million).

More news about flights to Croatia can be found in the Travel section.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Life Expectancy in Croatia Lags 2.9 Years Behind EU Average

ZAGREB, Dec 6 (Hina) - Croatia's life expectancy is increasing but is still below the European Union's average by three years, according to findings of the EU report on the State of Health in its member-states.

"Although life expectancy at birth in Croatia increased by 3.4 years between 2000 and 2017, from 74.6 to 78 years, the distance to the EU average remained almost unchanged, amounting to 2.9 years," reads the report's section on Croatia

Croatia's Health Profile, which was presented in Zagreb on Friday by the Andrija Štampar Teaching Institute of Public Health, reads that one the reasons for this gap is "the low effectiveness of public health interventions," and in this context it is underscored that "anti-tobacco policies are underdeveloped, indoor smoking in public places is still widespread, and rates of teenage smoking are the third highest in the EU."

"Obesity rates are rising, particularly among children. Preventable mortality is well above the EU average," reads the report.

"Social inequalities in life expectancy appear to be less pronounced in Croatia than in many other EU countries. For instance, Croatian women with lower education live on average 1.6 years less than those who completed tertiary education, and this gap for women is far below the EU average (4.1 years).

In 2017, Croatians aged 65 could expect to live an additional 17.4 years, 2 years more than in 2000. However, more than 12 years of life of this period is spent with disabilities. The gender gap in life expectancy at age 65 is about 3.5 years in favour of women. However, there is no gender difference in the number of healthy life years because women tend to live a greater proportion of their lives after age 65 with health issues and disabilities, reads the report.

The shorter life expectancy in the Croatian cohort of elderly citizens than in the whole of the EU is the consequence of behavioural risk factors, including dietary factors, tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption and low physical activity, exceeding the EU average in particular for dietary risks and tobacco. Slightly more than half of all deaths in Croatia can be attributed to those behavioural risk factors.

Croatia spent 6.8 % of its GDP on health in 2017, much less than the EU average of 9.8 %. Although it is also among the three lowest spenders in the EU in terms of health spending per capita, Croatia has maintained a relatively high share of public spending, resulting in high levels of financial protection. However, levels of public debt still exert constraints on public spending on health. Furthermore, a large share of health expenditure goes to pharmaceuticals, far exceeding the EU average. Policy initiatives to address this include evolving centralised procurement for hospitals, but there is large scope for further action, such as increasing the share of generics. In contrast, a very small share of health expenditure is spent on long-term care, which is generally underdeveloped. In view of the ageing of the population, it will be important to increase the availability of community-based long-term care.

Croatia is advised to improve the strategic planning of human resources in the healthcare system, although in the country there are fewer unmet needs for medical care than on average in the Union.

In recent years, the number of doctors and nurses has increased in Croatia but they are unevenly distributed across the country, and many are either moving abroad or nearing retirement.

More health news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Croatian Students Under-Perform in All Fields of PISA Survey

ZAGREB, December 3, 2019 - Croatian 15-year-old students' ability to use their reading, mathematics and science knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges, as measured by the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), is below the average, according to the latest PISA survey.

PISA surveys are conducted every three years. So far there have been seven surveys and Croatia participated in the last five.

The latest PISA survey, conducted in 2018, covered 600,000 students in 79 countries which had about 32 million 15-year-old students.

In Croatia, the assessment was conducted in 179 secondary and four primary schools in the spring of 2018, involving a total of 6,609 15-year-olds.

Considering trends over a 12-year-long span, Croatian students' performance in reading and mathematics showed neither improvement nor decline, whereas a considerably negative trend has been observed in science knowledge.

The latest survey shows that the best performers are Chinese students, who are followed by students from Singapore and Macao (China), whereas the Philippines and the Dominican Republic are at the bottom of the ranking.

In this category, the most successful country in Europe in Estonia, with a mean score of 523 points, followed by Finland (520 points) and Ireland (518 scores).

Croatia's performance is below the average, with a mean reading score of 479 points, which ranks it 29th of 77 countries, the National Centre for External Assessment (NCVV) stated on Tuesday.

Croatia's performance is similar to the results in the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Latvia, Italy, Hungary, Lithuania, Iceland, Israel, Russia and Belarus, the centre says.

Broken down by gender, Croatian girls are much better than boys (by a margin of 33 points). Also, students in grammar schools called "gimnazija" are better performers than students from other types of secondary schools.

Estonia is again the top European performer in this category, with a mean score of 523 points, and it is followed by the Netherlands (519 points) and Poland (516).

Croatia's mean score is 464 points, and it ranks 40th out of 78 countries.

In Croatia one in three students fails to reach the basic level of knowledge in this category.

Broken down by gender, male students in Croatia are better than female students, by a 9-point difference. Also, students in grammar schools called "gimnazija" are better performers than students from other types of secondary schools.

The Estonians are again the champions in this category in Europe, with a mean score of 530 points. Finland and Poland follow, with respective mean scores of 522 and 511 points.

Croatia's mean score stands at 472 points and the country is ranked 36th out of 78 countries.

There has been a negative change in the performance of Croatian students in this category over the last three years, with the mean score being reduced by 5 points.

More education news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Industrial Production in October Rises Just 0.3%

ZAGREB, November 29, 2019 - In October 2019, industrial production in Croatia went up by 0.3% on the year, while the annual increase over the first ten months of 2019 was 0.9%, the national statistical office said on Friday.

In October 2019, as compared to September 2019, industrial production decreased by 1.3%.

In October 2019, as compared to October 2018, durable consumer goods increased by 8.1%, energy by 6.4% and capital goods by 0.1%, while intermediate goods decreased by 2.6% and non-durable consumer goods by 1.7%.

Over the first ten months of 2019, the most important component of industrial production, manufacturing, went up by 0.3% year on year.

Raiffeisenbank Austria (RBA) said in a comment that industrial production growth in the last quarter of the year was likely to be about 1%.

Domestic demand remains strong but the slowing down of Croatia's main trade partners and low competitiveness curb stronger industrial growth, RBA added.

The modest recovery of industry is evident when compared with 2008, the year before the economic crisis, as today's production volume is 9% lower, RBA said.

More economic news can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Economic Sentiment in Croatia Improves Mildly in November

ZAGREB, November 28, 2019 - Economic sentiment in Croatia improved mildly in November owing to optimism in industry and retail, and optimism improved mildly also in the EU and the euro area, shows a report released by the European Commission on Thursday.

The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) rose in November by 0.8 points compared to the previous month to 114.1 points. In October it dropped by 1.4 points.

Business expectations improved the most in November in industry, with ESI going up by 3.9 points. The retail sector followed, with ESI growing by 3.3 points.

Consumer confidence remained at the same level as in October.

Construction confidence was almost halved in relation to October, when it reached its highest level since the EC started monitoring indicators for Croatia. In November construction confidence dropped by 11.1 points.

Services confidence worsened mildly, going down by 0.5 points.

At EU level, the ESI increased by 0.9 points, reaching a long-term average of 100 points. This put an end to negative trends that started in June, says the latest report, noting that the ESI for October was revised up by 0.1 points due to a revision of the ESI for France.

Confidence improved the most in retail and services, as evidenced by indicator increases of 2 and 1.2 points respectively.

More economy news can be found in the Business section.

Friday, 22 November 2019

Last Year Individuals and Companies in Croatia Donated 9 Million Euro

ZAGREB, November 22, 2019 - Last year about 9 million euro was collected from 2,632 donors - individuals usually donated for health care while companies donated to the non-profit sector, a panel discussion heard on Thursday.

An analyst from the Catalyst Balkans philanthropist foundation, Zorana Brozović, explained that the foundation has monitored data about volunteer charity campaigns in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Croatia and Serbia since 2013. These donations do not include those by state institutions nor those by religious institutions, she added.

Brozović underlined that the funds collected in various campaigns were balanced and not centralised to the capital city, and that this is particularly pleasing.

"There hasn't been any great oscillation seen over the past three years when we talk about donations collected. Last year we recorded 2,623 individual donations of 8.9 million euro," she said.

Highlighting that the foundation collects information on individual donations, she added that available sources indicate that a lot of donors wish to remain anonymous.

"Most donations are made by companies and they usually donate to the non-profit sector, as much as 66%," Brozović explained. When it comes to donations by individuals, Croatians mostly donate for health care (40%) and marginalised groups (33%). This includes the disabled, intellectually handicapped, women and children who have suffered violence, and the aged.

However, in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina an increased involvement of citizens has become obvious and more money is being collected at charity events, whereas in Croatia companies are the biggest donors (51%).

Brozović believes that the media do not cover that segment enough and said that last year the foundation recorded 9,678 media reports on charities, mostly in national media.

A reporter for the HRT national broadcaster, Maja Sever, said that it was worrying that the media don't show sufficient interest in the topic of altruism. She recalled that after 15 years HRT removed the "Croatia Live" TV show and added that these topics need to be worked on systematically and not as individual stories.

More news about charity efforts can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Croats Spend Nearly 5 Hours per Day on Mobile Phone

ZAGREB, November 17, 2019 - A survey commissioned by Mastercard shows that Croatian citizens spend nearly five hours on their mobile phone on average, that 67% would use it to pay bills and that 82% are satisfied with the current digitisation level.

The Masterindex survey on the use of financial services in Croatia and the attitude to payment cards was carried out by the Improve agency in October on 1,000 respondents aged 18-55.

The findings show that nearly everyone uses a mobile phone for 4.7 hours daily on average. Eighty-four percent of respondents use smartphones and online chats, 82% use e-mail, 81% shop online, 79% browse the Internet, 74% use social media and 64% use mobile banking.

As for the daily use of digital services, 97% of respondents browse the Internet, 92% use social media, 85% have mobile phones with Internet access and online chats, 85% use them for e-mail and 73% for the weather forecast.

Compared with last year, social media are used a little less, while navigation, payment apps and video on demand a little more.

Eighty-two percent of respondents are satisfied with the level of digitisation in Croatia, up 4% from November 2018. However, 73% would like to see more innovation and digital services in healthcare, 53% in public administration, 49% in education, 21% in the judiciary, 20% in public transport, 16% in retail trade, 14% in financial services and 11% in telecommunications.

The youngest are the most critical of the level of digitisation and wish to see more progress in education, healthcare and public transport. The elderly would like to see more progress in public administration, healthcare, telecommunications and cars.

Mobile phone use is highest in the 18-29 age group, 5.5 hours a day on average.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents would be interested in using their mobile phone for online payments, up 6% on May 2019 but down 6% on November 2018. Mostly interested in this kind of payment are those with a monthly income of over HRK 12,000 (79%), respondents in the Slavonia (77%) and Lika (75%) regions, those aged 18-29 (72%) and those without any income (72%).

Fifty-nine percent of respondents are interested in contactless payment and 62% in payment by mobile app.

As an alternative to payment cards, 71% of respondents would choose their mobile phone for payment rather than another device or method, including 79% of those in the 18-29 age group and 86% of those with the highest monthly incomes.

Men use payment cards more than women, those with university degrees, older than 40 and with a monthly income over 5,500 kuna.

Eighty-nine percent of payment card users use them from time to time for online shopping, up 4% on May 2019 and 2% on November 2018.

Thirty-two percent of online shoppers use debit cards, 25% use PayPal, 23% use credit cards, 8% pay cash upon delivery, 7% use online banking and 4% pay by credit card in instalments.

More IT news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Croatia Reports Record 20 Million Tourist Arrivals

ZAGREB, November 8, 2019 - Croatia has recorded over 20 million tourist arrivals and 107 million nights in one year for the first time, the Tourism Ministry said on Friday.

According to the eVisitor system, which records the tourism turnover in commercial and non-commercial facilities and the nautical charter, 20.1 million arrivals and 107.03 million nights have been registered as of today, up 5% and 2% on the year respectively.

"This historic result, this challenging year for tourism... is proof and confirmation of the quality of the synergy of the public and private sectors, without which such results would not have been possible," said Minister Gari Cappelli.

"I'm confident this record will motivate us all to continue to build and make Croatian tourism even better," he added.

National Tourist Board director Kristjan Staničić said that after last year's entire tourism turnover was surpassed last month, "these historic 20 million tourist arrivals additionally confirm the strength and stability of Croatia's tourism sector."

He said 2020 would be challenging and that many tour operators and airlines had announced that they would expand their programmes for Croatia.

This year so far, the biggest number of nights was generated by tourists from Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic, the UK, the US, Australia, Canada, South Korea and China.

The coastal resorts of Dubrovnik, Rovinj, Poreč, Split and Medulin recorded the biggest number of nights.

More news about Croatian tourism can be found in the Travel section.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Croatia's Public Debt Rises to 297.1 Billion Kuna

ZAGREB, November 5, 2019 - Croatia's public debt reached HRK 297.1 billion at the end of July 2019, up by 11 billion kuna or 3.8% from the end of 2018, and the increase was due to the issue of a €1.5 billion euro bond in June to secure funds for the repayment of a bond maturing in November, data from the Croatian National Bank shows.

In addition, the slight strengthening of the domestic currency, the kuna, against the euro affected the nominal expression of the debt in the kuna given that about 65% of general government obligations are in the euro or are tied to the euro, Raiffeisenbank Austria (RBA) said on Tuesday in a comment on the latest data from the Croatian central bank.

The level of public debt was also affected by a data review following the resectorisation of several statistical units into the general government sector.

General government internal debt was 186.7 billion kuna, an increase of 3.5% from the end of 2018, while external debt rose by 4.4% to 110.4 billion kuna.

RBA analysts recalled that $1.5 billion debt arising from a euro bond issued in 2009 would fall due in November and that it would be covered with funds from the euro bond issued this June. In addition, a €1 billion bond issued on the domestic market with a foreign currency clause also matures in November and the government is expected to issue another bond on the domestic market this month, which would conclude (re)financing for this year.

Considering the economic environment, solid fiscal improvements and the investment rating, a further slight narrowing of spread, especially at the longer end of the curve, is not ruled out.

For the government, borrowing under such terms means considerable savings on interest costs, which had been reduced in the last three years by nearly 3 billion kuna or 25% and reached 2.3% in 2018.

"Considering the fundamental indicators and the market environment, we believe that yields (and coupon interest rates) will reach new all-time lows," RBA said.

As for refinancing needs, RBA analysts believe that 2020 will be somewhat less demanding and the needs easily met, estimating them at 14% of GDP or 57.5 billion kuna.

More economic news can be found in the Business section.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Industrial Production and Retail Turnover Increase

ZAGREB, October 30, 2019 - In September 2019, Croatia's industrial production went up 2% on the year, while in the first nine months of the year it increased 1%.

Industrial production in September 2019, as compared to August 2019, increased by 2.5%, the national statistical office said on Wednesday.

Raiffeisebank Austria (RBA) analysts noted that the industrial production volume in August 2019 dropped 1.7% on the year and that September's growth was in line with their expectations.

In September 2019, as compared to September 2018, durable consumer goods increased by 19.1%, non-durable consumer goods by 4.4%, energy by 3.4% and intermediate goods by 0.5%, while capital goods decreased by 7.1%.

Over the first nine months of 2019, the most significant component of industrial production, the manufacturing industry, rose only 0.5% on the year.

RBA analysts said they expected that indicator to be volatile in Q3 but they maintain that the volume will record a positive rate for 2019. Domestic demand will stay strong, while the slowing of Croatia's main trade partners and the still low competitiveness will limit stronger growth, with the growth rate for 2019 remaining 1.5%, they added.

In September 2019, the retail trade turnover went up 3.5% on the year, after rising annually by 1.2% in August, 3.7% in July and 5.9% in June, the national statistical office said on Wednesday.

In the first nine months of 2019, the working-day adjusted retail trade turnover in real terms increased by 3.7% compared to the same period of the previous year.

Real annual retail trade growth in September 2019 was the fourth in a row after May, when it fell 1.9%, for the first time in 56 months.

The retail trade turnover of food, beverages and tobacco increased by 2.3% and of non-food products (except of automotive fuels and lubricants) by 7.7%.

In September 2019, eight of ten trade branches, which generated 75.8% of the total turnover, realised a rise in turnover. Accordingly, the total gross retail trade turnover increased by 4.1% in nominal terms, as compared to the same month of the previous year.

The largest impact on the rise in the nominal turnover in September 2019, as compared to the same month of the previous year, according to gross, unadjusted indices, was realised by non-specialised stores with food, beverages and tobacco, with 3.1% of turnover growth and 1.1% of the impact on the total turnover index, and other non-specialised stores, with 16.5% of turnover growth and 1% of the impact on the total turnover index.

More economic news can be found in the Business section.

Page 5 of 27