Monday, 7 October 2019

Sales of New Cars up 2.5% Year-on-Year

ZAGREB, October 7, 2019 - A total of 51,337 new cars were sold in Croatia in the first nine months of this year, an increase of 2.5 percent on the same period last year when 50,073 vehicles were sold, according to data from the Promocija Plus market research agency.

Volkswagen was the most popular car brand, with 6,722 vehicles sold and a share in total car sales of 13.09 percent. It was followed by Renault (4,972 cars and a share of 9.69 percent), Opel (4,800 cars and a share of 9.35 percent), Skoda (4,793 cars and a share of 9.34 percent), and Dacia (3,099 cars and a share of 6.04 percent).

Also sold in the reported period were 1,310 Audis, 1,137 BMWs, 1,009 Mercedes and 80 Porsches.

The most sought-after car models were the Skoda Octavia (2,750 units sold), the Renault Clio (2,049), the VW Golf (1,890), the Suzuki Vitara (1,487) and the Renault Captur (1,446).

In September alone, 3,552 new cars were sold, up 22.2 percent year on year. The best-selling brands were Volkswagen (601 vehicles sold), Renault (394) and Skoda (362).

Of the total number of new cars sold from the start of January to the end of September, 31,548 or 61.5 percent were powered by petrol and 17,960 or 35 percent by diesel engines, 1,221 or 2.4 percent were hybrids, and 138 or 0.3 percent were electric vehicles.

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

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Revision of Statistics Reveals Increase in Foreign Debt, Drop in Revenues from Foreign Tourists

ZAGREB, October 1, 2019 - The Croatian National Bank (HNB) on Monday presented a revision of statistics on relations with foreign countries, which reveals an increase in gross foreign debt in the period from 2000 to 2018, most of which happened at the end of 2018, in the amount of close to €3.9 billion, and a decrease in the current account balance of payments in all the years since 2002, ranging from €21 million to 974 million.

In line with the revision practice of euro area member-states, in 2019 a major revision of statistics of relations with foreign countries was undertaken, which primarily refers to data on the balance of payments, the state of international investments, as well as data on foreign debt, HNB vice-governor Roman Šubić said.

Major statistical revisions are done every five years, and the most important improvements refer to data on tourism revenues and their impact on the balance of payments, to the inclusion of informal worker remittances, imports of vehicles from the EU by natural persons, as well as trade credits with the maturity period of up to six months, i.e. deferred payment.

In line with the new methodology, historical data were revised as well, in some segments back to the year 2000, HNB officials said.

The revision of data on gross foreign debt reveals an increase in debt in all the years since 2000, in the range of about €1.3 billion to 3.9 billion.

That growth was mostly due to the inclusion into foreign debt of trade credits, i.e. credits which companies or suppliers grant to Croatian buyers borrowing abroad, for the purchase of their goods and services, with a maturity period of six months.

An HNB analysis shows that the situation in the period from 2016 to 2018 was undervalued by 17-21% on the expenditure side, that is, when a buyer from the country buys a product or a service abroad with a maturity period of six months.

The central bank's revised data show that gross foreign debt at the end of 2018 totalled €42.7 billion, €3.9 billion more than according to the old methodology (€38.8 billion).

Data for 2019 show a further increase in foreign debt, which at the end of the second quarter amounted to €44.6 billion.

The revision found that the amount of tourism revenues in the balance of payments was overestimated, primarily due to the estimated number of foreign tourists visiting Croatia. The new calculation of tourism revenues uses methods based on a combination of physical indicators and indicators of average spending by foreign tourists.

The revision of data from 2003 revealed a decrease in revenues from foreign tourists by between €500 million and 1.1 billion, which has had a negative impact on the current account balance. The new data for 2018 show that revenues from foreign tourists were €600 million lower, reaching €9.5 billion, while according to previous, unrevised data they amounted to €10.1 billion.

Šubić says that there has been a change to the data collection methodology, adding that data from the State Bureau of Statistics were used before, while now far more detailed data from the Ministry of the Interior are used.

"These data track the number of foreign tourist arrivals. The possibility of monitoring the number of vehicles entering the country makes is possible to estimate the number of passengers per vehicle and ensure better statistics," he said.

Explaining the method now used to calculate tourism revenues, he said that the estimated number of foreign visitors is multiplied by their average spending.

Also included in the balance of payments are informal worker remittances because it was noticed that Croatian workers returning home from abroad used informal channels for money transfers. As a result of their inclusion, the current account balance increased by between €174 million and 326 million.

The revision also covered changes in used car imports from the EU by natural persons. Previously, official statistics covered only car imports conducted by legal entities, which had a negative impact on the current account balance ranging from €41 million in 2013 to €317 million in 2018.

Šubić said that it was in everyone's interest to have as accurate and comprehensive statistics as possible that could be comparable on an international level.

More economic news can be found in the Business section.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Demand for New Cars in Croatia Increases in 2019

ZAGREB, September 22, 2019 - Demand for new cars in Europe dropped in the first eight months of 2019 as its weakening in the leading Western European markets prevailed over the mild increase in new EU member states, including Croatia, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA).

Over the first eight months of 2019, new-car demand in the EU went down by 3.2% compared to the same period last year, counting 10.5 million registrations in total.

Demand for new cars decreased in five leading automobile markets, including France, Great Britain, Italy and Spain, while rising 0.9% in the biggest market, Germany.

In old member states, those prior to the 2004 enlargement, demand dropped 3.6%, while in new ones it went up 1.2%.

In Croatia, 47,824 new cars were registered over the first eight months of 2019, up 1.4% on the year.

Broken down by manufacturer, Volkswagen held the largest share in Europe over the first eight months of this year (24.8%), followed by PSA (16.4%) and Renault (10.7%).

During August, the EU passenger car market contracted by 8.4%. This is mainly the result of the high base of comparison, as August 2018 saw exceptional growth (+31.2%) ahead of the introduction of the new WLTP emissions test on 1 September 2018. The top five EU markets all recorded decreases, with the strongest drops in Spain (-30.8%) and France (-14.1%).

In Croatia, 3,403 new cars were registered in August, up 6.7% on the year.

In July 2019, demand for new passenger cars increased by 1.4%, with almost 1.3 million units registered across the EU. Looking at the five big Western European markets, Germany was the only major car market to post positive results (+4.7%). The region-wide increase was largely supported by the Central European countries, where registrations went up 13.4% in July.

In Croatia, 6,205 new cars were registered in July, up 8.5% on the year.

More economy news can be found in the Business section.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Croatia's Population Stands at Slightly over 4 Million

ZAGREB, September 13, 2019 - According to a population estimate made by the national statistical office (DZS), Croatia had 4,087,843 residents in the mid-2018, which was a decrease of 0.9%, or by 36,688 fewer residents, compared to the estimate for the year before.

All counties, but the City of Zagreb and Istria, experienced the downsizing of the population.

In mid-2018 the Croatian capital registered an increase by 0.22% and the County of Istria a rise of 0.26% in population.

The biggest decline of 3.04% was registered in Vukovar-Srijem County.

Broken down by gender, men accounted for 48.3% of the total population and women for 51.7%.

Apart from a decline, Croatia is also faced with the aging population.

The age group to 19 years accounted for 19.6 % of the total population.

The lowest share of the youngest age cohort is in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, 16.6%, and the highest, 22% in Međimurje County.

The share of the fertility contingent in the total female population in 2018 fell to 41.5%.

More demographic news can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Government: Budget Revenues Increase 8.5%, Expenditures up 8.3%

ZAGREB, September 12, 2019 - Croatian government budget revenues reached 65.1 billion kuna in the first half of 2019, an increase of 8.5% on the same period in 2018, while expenditures increased by 8.3% to 66.9 billion kuna, according to a report on budget execution adopted at a government session on Thursday.

The budget deficit was 1.88 billion kuna, roughly the same as last year.

Presenting the report, the State Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, Zdravko Zrinušić, said that positive economic developments had continued in the first half of the year, with real GDP increasing by 3.1% compared with the first half of 2018.

Tax revenues increased by 4.8% to 37.1 billion kuna, with VAT revenues going up by 4.7% to 23.5 billion kuna. This was mainly due to increased spending as a result of positive economic trends, Zrinušić said, recalling that additional tax reliefs had become effective at the start of the year.

Profit tax revenues reached 5.3 billion kuna, up 8.3%, and revenues from special taxes and excises rose by 2.2% to 7.3 billion kuna.

On the other hand, revenues from contributions declined by 2.2% to 11.9 billion kuna, which Zrinušić said was due to the effects of the tax reform at the start of the year, namely the abolition of contributions on employment and safety at work. The health insurance contribution was increased at the start of the year, but it does not count as a budget revenue, the report notes.

The 8.3% rise in expenditures was due to the better absorption of EU funds. Expenditures financed by EU funds reached 6.2 billion kuna, an increase of 1.8 billion kuna or 42% on the first half of 2018, the report says.

More economic news can be found in the Business section.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Statistical Data Don’t Support Rising Violence Claims

ZAGREB, September 9, 2019 - Statistical data by the Interior Ministry, the Human Rights Ombudswoman and the Serb National Council (SNV) do not support the argument that ethnic violence in Croatia is on the rise, Vecernji List daily said on Monday.

Last year, the police registered 33 hate crimes, the State Prosecutor's Office (DORH) prosecuted 53 and eight convictions were handed down. In 2013, under the Zoran Milanović cabinet, the Interior Ministry registered 35 cases and DORH prosecuted 57, while in 2016, under the Tihomir Orešković cabinet, the Interior Ministry registered 35 cases and DORH prosecuted 37.

Taking population size into account, it is evident that Croatia is ranked among those countries with fewer hate crimes, the daily said. It could also possible thought that there is a higher number of crimes reported in some Western countries and fewer in others, including Croatia, as a consequence of the trust, or lack thereof, in the authorities or the ability, or failure, to identify hate crimes.

But in DORH's annual report, the higher number of dismissed reports is seen as a result of the fact that frequently unacceptable, impassioned and uncivil public statements are interpreted as hate speech, resulting in criminal complaints although they are "just" a case of slander or insult, misdemeanour, sometimes even non-punishable behaviour.

The human rights ombudswoman's data on discrimination complaints on racial or ethnic grounds do not support the argument that violence is on the rise either. There were 66 such complaints last year, up from 47 in 2017, but down from 117 in 2016. Sixty such complaints were filed in 2012 and 68 in 2015.

SNV data on incidents involving intolerance towards Serbs show that 82 were reported in 2014, 189 in 2015, 331 in 2016, 393 in 2017 and 381 in 2018 but, Vecernji List said, the SNV noted that it had changed its methodology.

Interior Ministry data on crimes prosecuted ex officio show they decreased by 32% between 2011 and 2018, with an increase recorded only in 2015.

More Politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Value of Construction Work Performed in Croatia up 10.6%

ZAGREB, September 8, 2019 - The value of construction work in Croatia, performed by companies employing 20 workers or more, increased by 10.6% in the second quarter of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018, while at the same time the value of new orders increased by 3.7%, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (DZS) show.

The value of construction work was 6.68 billion kuna, of which 4.47 billion kuna related to work performed by own workers and 2.21 billion kuna to work carried out by subcontractors. 47.2% of the work was done on buildings and 52.8% on other structures.

The value of new orders was 5.06 billion kuna, of which 2.39 billion kuna related to buildings and 2.67 billion kuna to other structures.

In statistics, the term "other structures" includes roads, railway lines, pipelines, dams, sports grounds and the like.

More economic news can be found in the Business section.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Croatia's Exports Increasing Faster than Imports

ZAGREB, September 6, 2019 - Croatia's exports reached 66.4 billion kuna in the first seven months of 2019, an increase of 8.2% over the same period in 2018, while imports went up by 6.9% to 109.8 billion kuna, according to initial data from the State Bureau of Statistics (DZS) released on Friday.

The foreign trade deficit was 43.4 billion kuna, up 2 billion kuna, while the coverage of imports by exports increased from 59.7% in the first seven months of 2018 to 60.4% in the same period this year.

Exports to EU member states rose by 6.7% to 44.8 billion kuna, while exports to non-EU countries increased by 11.5% to 21.5 billion kuna. At the same time, imports from EU member states rose by 9.7% to HRK 88.7 billion, while imports from non-EU countries fell by 3.4% to 21 billion kuna.

Viewed in euros, exports totalled €8.9 billion, up 8.3%, while imports went up by 7.1% to €14.8 billion. The foreign trade deficit was €5.8 billion, up from €5.56 billion at the same time last year.

EU exports amounted to slightly over €6 billion, an increase of 6.8%, and non-EU exports rose by 11.6% to €2.9 billion. EU imports increased by 9.9% to €11.9 billion and non-EU imports declined by 3.3% to €2.8 billion.

The DZS revised upwards its data for the first six months of the year, saying that exports increased by 5.5% to 54.7 billion kuna and imports rose by 7.4% to 93.4 billion kuna. Initial data showed that exports increased by 5.1% and imports by 6.8%.

In the first half of the year the foreign trade deficit was 38.7 billion kuna and the coverage of imports by exports was 58.5%.

Viewed in euros, exports in the first half of 2019, compared with the first half of 2018, rose by 5.8% to €7.4 billion and imports went up by 7.6% to €12.6 billion. The foreign trade deficit was €5.2 billion.

More economy news can be found in the Business section.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Croatia's July Industrial Production up 3%

ZAGREB, September 2, 2019 - Croatia's industrial production increased by 3 percent in July 2019 compared with the same month in 2018, returning to positive territory following a considerable decline in June, the State Bureau of Statistics (DZS) said on Monday.

According to calendar-adjusted data, industrial output in July increased by 4.8 percent from the previous month and by 3 percent from July last year.

Following a comparatively strong decline in June, of 5.6 percent, the volume of industrial production returned to positive values in July, analysts at Raiffeisenbank Austria (RBA) said in their comment on the DZS report.

Compared with July 2018, the production of intermediate goods increased the most, by 7.1 percent, followed by the production of non-durable consumer goods (+6.6 percent), energy (+3.6 percent) and durable consumer goods (+3.4 percent). The production of capital goods fell by 15.6 percent.

In the first seven months of this year, industrial production rose by 1.2 percent.

RBA analysts expect that the volume of industrial production will record a modest, yet positive growth rate in 2019.

Industrial production may be supported by solid domestic demand, but a slowdown in Croatia's main foreign trade partners and the still low competitiveness are a drag on the recovery of industry, RBA said.

More economic news can be found in the Business section.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Gross Profit of 20 Banks Operating in Croatia up 10%

ZAGREB, August 31, 2019 - In the first half of 2019, banks in Croatia reported pre-tax profits in the amount of 3.8 billion kuna, which is 347.9 million kuna (10%) more than in the same period of 2018, show the latest figures from the Croatian National Bank (HNB).

The data refer to a total of 20 banks operating on 30 June this year, which was three fewer than at the end of June 2018.

The downsizing has been actually the result of mergers: in October 2018, Veneto Bank was added to Privredna Banka Zagreb (PBZ), in December 2018, Splitska Banka to OTP and this April, Jadranska Banka was taken over by the Croatian Postal Bank (HPB).

The total assets of these 20 commercial lenders came to 411.9 billion kuna in the first half of 2019, down by 1.35% on the year.

In terms of volume of gross profit in H1 2019, the top three banks were Zagrebačka Banka (ZABA) with 1.3 billion kuna which was up by 29.5%, and was followed by PBZ (850.9 million kuna, up 15.4%), and OTP (417.8 million).

Of major banks, only Erste&Steiermaerkische Bank had a decline from 622.1 kuna in H1 2018 to 403.2 million kuna.

The state-owned HPB recorded a rise of 32.6% to 153 million kuna in pre-tax profit in H1 2019.

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

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