Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Međimurje Wins Financial Times Award Again

ZAGREB, 16 March 2022 - Međimurje County has been given the European Cities and Regions of the Future 2022/23 award by one of the most reputable world economic magazines the Financial Times, its fourth such award, among 160 larger or smaller regions and more than 350 cities in the European Union.

County Prefect Matija Posavec, who received the award in Cannes on Tuesday, told a press conference on Wednesday that the award was not a coincidence and that Međimurje has been recognised as one of the most favourable areas for successfully doing business in Europe thanks to a system that connects the economy and education, among other things.

It is an award to a proud Međimurje that combines all those values of our people, who are productive and diligent, Posavec said, underscoring that over the past two years of the coronavirus pandemic, Međimurje's economy continued to grow as it has been over the past 15 years.

Posavec highlighted several examples of a good entrepreneurial environment such as the Technological-Innovation Centre, the Međiurje Energy Agency and the Čakovec Metal Hub as well as the first scientific-research centre that is owned by a county government. He announced the opening of a regional competence centre in the next month.

"Results do not come overnight, but we are always thinking two steps ahead, and today we are thinking about what will happen tomorrow, which is our wish to become a pilot project in our health system and to apply artificial intelligence here too," said Posavec.

The director of the REDEA Public Institute for the Development of Međimurje County, Sandra Polanec Marinović, said that due to COVID-19 it was necessary to adapt to new criteria.

"We also presented those sectors that have the greatest potential for post-pandemic recovery, concentrating on new rapidly-growing sectors such as eMobility, as well as presenting the IT sector and creative industries," she said, recalling the huge municipal investments in business zones.

Business: For more, check out our business section.

 

Saturday, 13 November 2021

FinMin: Credit Rating Important for Capital Price for State, Businesses, Citizens

ZAGREB, 13 Nov, 2021 - The credit rating is important for the price of borrowing for the state, businesses and citizens as its upgrade lowers the risk premium, which has a favourable effect on the price of capital, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić told Hina on Saturday.

The Fitch Ratings agency yesterday upgraded Croatia's rating to BBB, the best in Croatia's history, with a positive outlook.

Marić said the rating was first of all closely related to debt price and the capital price for the state and, directly or indirectly, for the interest paid by businesses and citizens.

The Fitch rating has a positive effect on those processes, he said, but added that the upgrade should be viewed in continuity, recalling that until not so long ago the state paid a considerable amount for interest.

In 2015, the budgetary expenditure for interest was HRK 12 billion, which at that time was almost the entire budget of the education ministry, whereas now that expenditure is HRK 4.5 billion lower.

"Interest used to be 5-6% and now it is about 1% on the ten-year bond," said Marić, adding that the credit rating assessment was important both in times of low and in times of higher interest rates on capital markets.

"We are talking about reference interest rates," he said, adding that the increased money offer in recent years led to a considerable drop in reference rates, but that the total interest paid by citizens, businesses and the state was a sum of the reference rate and the rate related to a specific country and to the risk premium.

"That's where the rating strikes because Croatia can't influence the trend of reference interest rates, but it can the risk premium it pays."

Marić said Croatia had a stable growth, public finances in order, a clear prospect of entering the euro area, and political stability.

"Those are all elements which have an effect on rating improvement, which is then reflected in a better perception and reputation of a country like Croatia in the financial world, and in the end comes the effect on the risk premium," he said. That is important both when reference interests are low and when they are high, he added.

The investment rating is very important, not just for debt and capital prices but also for capital availability, Marić said.

"The moment you are in the investment zone, you are interesting to many more good investors who can invest in securities," he said, adding that international investors had restrictions and were often not allowed to invest in a country below the investment credit rating.

"That's why it's very good that that has changed for Croatia in terms of Fitch and Standard & Poor's," Marić said, adding that it was also important that Fitch had a positive outlook on Croatia. "That sort of indicates the direction the rating could take."

He praised the media focus on the credit rating, saying that it was good that people became aware of how important it was to know how to manage public money well.

For more on business, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Plenković: Euro Area Entry Is Strong Message to Investors

ZAGREB, 13 Nov, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Saturday Croatia's likely entry into the euro area in 2023 was a signal and message to the investment community that the government's economic and fiscal policies were correct, just as in the case of Fitch Ratings, which upgraded Croatia's credit rating.

"The key and anchor of our economic course, as a result of which the European Commission, rating agencies and international financial institutions have increasing confidence in our policy, is accession to the euro area. Further guidance for our entry, which we expect in June and membership in the euro area on 1 January 2023, gives credibility to everything we are doing. People who deal with this matter in greater detail know what it means for the economy and stability. They see this driver of the Croatian economy as the most important one," Plenković told press.

"Croatia has been given the best investment rating in its history. We never had a BBB rating and a positive outlook. This indicates what that agency assesses, following what is going on with our fiscal policy."

A decision on Croatia's euro area entry is expected next June. A positive decision will "automatically signal" to agencies that Croatia will be even more predictable, more stable, and economically and financially even stronger, he said.

Fitch's upgrade and the European Commission's significant revision upwards of Croatia's growth forecast earlier this week are not important just for borrowing on the domestic and foreign financial markets, Plenković said, adding that this kind of "credentials" and legitimacy help SMEs, banks, citizens and the whole system.

Croatia's achieving the highest credit rating in its history, despite a number of negative circumstances, shows that the government knows where it is going and what is good for Croatia, he said.

He said that in the process of achieving its goal to enter the euro area, Croatia found itself in challenging and extremely risky circumstances, including entering the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in July 2020, just five days after a parliamentary election, which he said showed a high level of trust in Croatia.

Another important element is the stability of public finances, he said, recalling that Croatia had a budget surplus before the outbreak of the pandemic and that, had there been no pandemic, Croatia's public debt would have been below 60% of GDP.

Because of the COVID crisis and last year's GDP fall, several steps back were made, but this year already Croatia has returned to the previous public debt reduction course, Plenković said.

He highlighted growths in industrial production, commodity exports, construction and tourism, as well as the abundant EU funds Croatia will have at its disposal in this decade.

He said political stability was very important, as recognised by Fitch, adding that it was the fundamental prerequisite for any economic progress.

Plenković also underlined the importance of COVID vaccination "because it's closely related to the economy and finances."

He went on to say that during his government the relevant agencies have upgraded Croatia's credit rating six times - Fitch three, Standard & Poor's twice and Moody's once.

Asked why Moody's was the only one keeping Croatia's rating in the non-investmen zone, Plenković said every agency had its own approach and that Moody's last rating occurred exactly a year ago. "We hope they will follow what the other agencies are saying."

Fitch yesterday revised its forecast of Croatia's GDP growth this year from 5.5% to 8.9% and the European Commission revised it earlier this week from 5.4% to 8.1%.

Plenković recalled that the Croatian National Bank put the forecast at 8.5%. "If there is verified confirmation of the catchphrase 'let's underpromise and overdeliver', then it was fully confirmed from several competent instances."

He said the Commission's and Fitch's forecasts for this summer's tourist season were above those of the government.

If the season's results are at about 80% of the record year 2019, he said, it means the government and all other actors made a step forward given the pandemic and the related restrictions. This was confirmed by Euronews reports about Croatia as the country with the best tourism results in the Mediterranean, he added.

For more on business, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

World Savings Day: Growth of Savings in Croatia Continues in 2021

ZAGREB, 31 Oct, 2021 - Increased uncertainty about future economic trends is leading to an increase in savings, according to an analysis by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) on the occasion of World Savings Day, marked on 31 October.

Data from the Croatian National Bank (HNB) show household deposits at the end of September 2021 were HRK 240.3 billion, up HRK 20 billion or 9.1% from September 2020 and up HRK 1.6 billion or 0.7% from August 2021.

Citing HNB data from August, they underscored that a year-on-year growth of deposits was recorded in all counties.

In terms of the distribution of household deposits by banks, the concentration of deposits is the highest in the City of Zagreb, whose citizens had HRK 67.2 billion in savings at the end of August, a share of 29% percent.

Broken down by counties, per capita deposits exceed HRK 50,000 in the Adriatic Croatia counties, with the exception of Lika-Senj County, while the City of Zagreb and Zagreb County are the only continental counties to register such per capita deposits.

Istria County tops the list with per capita deposits of HRK 85,249, followed by the City of Zagreb (HRK 83,049), while Vukovar-Srijem County (HRK 26,068) ranks last. At the level of Croatia, per capita deposits amount to HRK 57,555, up from last year's HRK 53,103, the HGK analysis showed.

The share of time deposits is 33.6%, down 4.7 percentage points compared to the end of last year, while the share of savings deposits has reached 35%, up 2.2 percentage points, and the share of deposit money has reached 31.4%, up 2.5 percentage points.

Huge oscillations in savings

Josip Zaher of the HGK said in a statement carried by the press release that the increase in savings of Croatian citizens was not surprising given that in every crisis, this time caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, people always saved more.

As long as uncertainty regarding future economic trends is heightened, the same will apply to savings, said Vedran Šošić of the HNB, underscoring that oscillations in saving were huge.

Thus, amid the outbreak of the pandemic and the consequent lack of goods, and especially services, as well as caution and fear due to a potential loss of income, savings doubled overnight.

The reopening of the economy and the recovery of confidence enabled a gradual return to pre-pandemic patterns of spending and savings, although savings are generally still slightly higher than usual, said Šošić.

He also said that the majority of money surpluses accumulated after the outbreak, citizens deposited in banks. Also, savings were directed to the repayment of consumer debt, and investment in residential real estate is always popular, so housing loans grew increasingly fast, with increasingly obvious signs of overvaluation.

Member of the Management Board of the pensions funds management company Raiffeisen, Eva Horvat, stressed that nearly 400,000 Croatian citizens were saving in one of the voluntary pension funds, which contained assets of HRK 7.3 billion.

Savings growth constant in Croatia

On the occasion of World Savings Day, Zagrebačka Banka (Zaba) also released an analysis, in which Hrvoje Dolenec said that savings growth was constant in Croatia, and the reasons for that were the growth of GDP, living standards and disposable income.

"In the past two and a half years, the movement of financial assets of the Croatian population indicates an acceleration of that growth. This was especially evident during the pandemic, when the acceleration of savings was partly forced, due to limited movement and travel and less available services, such as restaurants, cafes, recreational activities, and partly voluntary, out of precaution and concern for the future," said Dolenec, noting that deposits and cash together accounted for nearly half of the total financial assets of households.

Igor Pavlović of Zaba underscored that low interest rates were certainly among the most important reasons for the reduction in the habit of opting for time deposits.

(€1 = HRK 7.509157)

For more on business, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange: Crobex Indices Stable

ZAGREB, 6 Oct, 2021 - The main Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices increased on Wednesday, the Crobex by 0.03% to 2,033 points, its highest level since February 2020, and the Crobex10 by 0.01% to 1,245 points, its highest level since March 2017.

Regular turnover was HRK 13.5 million. Another HRK 4.5 million was generated in a block transaction with Atlantic Group stock at HRK 1,550 per share.

The most traded stock in regular trading was Valamar Riviera, turning over HRK 3.6 million. It closed at HRK 31.2 per share, down 0.95%.

Forty-nine stocks traded today - 20 gaining in price and 13 losing, while 16 were stable.

(€1 = HRK 7.486388)

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Croatian Bureau of Statistics: New record Jump in Industrial Producer Prices

ZAGREB, 6 Oct, 2021 - Croatia's industrial producer prices jumped by 12.1% in September 2021 compared with the same month in 2020, their highest rise since January 2011, according to the data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

This was the seventh month in a row to see an increase in industrial producer prices on an annual level, following the 9.3% rise in August.

The positive streak began in March this year with an annual rise of 3.5% and was followed by increases of 5.8% in April, 7.6% in May, 7.2% in June and 7.9% in July. 

The rise was mainly driven by energy prices. Excluding energy, producer prices in September were 0.5% higher than in August and 3.5% higher than in September last year.

On the foreign market, industrial producer prices in September 2021 increased by 1.0% compared with August 2021 and by 10.1% compared with September 2020. On the domestic market, they rose by 3.2% month on month and by 13.7% year on year.

Broken down by main industrial groupings, in September compared with August, prices of energy on the domestic market increased by 9.4%, prices of capital goods by 0.5%, prices of intermediate goods by 0.4%, prices of durable consumer goods by 0.1%, and prices of non-durable consumer goods by 0.1%.

On an annual level, prices of energy on the domestic market rose by 42.2%, prices of intermediate goods by 6.2%, prices of durable consumer goods by 2.5%, prices of capital goods by 2.5%, and prices of non-durable consumer goods by 1.2%.

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange Indices Close Mixed

ZAGREB, 5 Oct, 2021 - The main Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices closed mixed on Tuesday, with the Crobex gaining 0.26% to reach 2,032 points and the Crobex10 shedding 0.23% to end the day at 1,245 points.

Turnover at the close of the trading session was HRK 14.7 million, which is 10.9 million higher than on Monday, and as many as six stocks passed the turnover mark of one million kuna.

The stock of the Valamar Riviera hotel company turned over HRK 2.2 million, closing at HRK 31.5 per share, up 3.3%.

The Podravka food company followed with a turnover of HRK 1.9 million. The price of its share fell by 3.27% to HRK 650.

The Koka poultry processing company saw the price of its share jump by 6.72% to HRK 470, turning over HRK 1.82 million.

The Atlantska Plovidba shipping company turned over HRK 1.77 million, with the price of its share increasing by 3.0% to HRK 550.

Telecommunications equipment manufacturer Ericsson Nikola Tesla saw the price of its share drop by 0.29% to HRK 1,710, turning over HRK 1.5 million, while the HT telecommunications company turned over HRK 1.4 million, with the price of its share remaining unchanged at HRK 190.

A total of 41 stocks traded today, with 21 of them recording price increases, 11 registering price decreases and 9 stagnating in price.

(€1 = HRK 7.490910)

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Petrinja Container Business Centre Breathes Life into Post-Quake Town

September 30, 2021 -The New Life Centre is a Petrinja container business centre offering locals the chance to go back to their businesses as the town still awaits the completion of its post-earthquake reconstruction.

The container settlements of Petrinja, the aftermath of the December 29 earthquake, are certainly not a cheery place to live as the locals await the reconstruction of their Central Croatian town to be completed.

The reconstruction process isn't over just yet, but the spark of hope for a new, better life after a tough year can be seen with the opening of the New Life Centre.

''The New Life Centre is a cluster of new, painted containers that have been stacked for months in Petrinja's neighbourhood of Sajmište,'' as described by Miroslav Šantek, the author for the local website PS-Portal. The first traders, workers, and craftsmen have already settled in, happy for a taste of near normality.

PS-Portal states that this idea was suggested by the Voice of Entrepreneurs Association (Udruga Glas Poduzetnika) to the then-mayor of Petrinja, Darinko Dumbovic.

''The idea was accepted, and then work on the infrastructure began. But, in typical Croatian fashion, there are always setbacks. The obvious lack of money slowed down the progress. Then came new town administration and new mayor Magdalena Komes who cooperated with the Croatian Government and got 30 million kuna to continue the construction of the centre,'' explained PS-Portal.

The deadlines, however, have been breached and it is uncertain when the Petrinja container business centre will actually be finished.

Nonetheless, business owners who could no longer wait for the complete conclusion of construction set up their businesses and started to work as the state aid dried out, and they wanted to go back to making a living for their families.

As PS-Portal continues, yesterday's opening morning was cold, but there was joy on that small square of container settlements. Citizens of Petrinja can now enjoy the offer of a big international cosmetic chain, but also smaller shops, a pizzeria, and grill diners run by local entrepreneurs.

Despite the lack of a grand opening due to ongoing construction works, Mayor Komes still visited and talked to entrepreneurs who started their businesses. She explained that the increase of construction material and the lack of construction workers are the reason for delays in the Petrinja container business centre's completion.

''Numerous Petrinja-based entrepreneurs lost their space to work after the earthquake. They worked in containers or in the few rental spaces one could find in the almost destroyed town. This modular centre is designed as a space for everyone who has lost theirs,'' writes Glas Istre.

The December earthquake in Petrinja, as well as the March earthquake in Zagreb, caused lots of problems for the residents of these areas. As TCN previously wrote, after a whole year of slow reconstruction progress, Croatian PM Andrej Plenković promised to speed up the reconstruction processes in September. Back in July, several education institutions got financial support for reconstruction, while museums, such as the School Museum in Zagreb, still awaits help.

The dreadful experience of the earthquake in Sisak, Zagreb, and Petrinja also woke up Croatian artists, such as Miroslav Arbutina Arba. You can see his photos of the Sisak earthquake in the Zagreb Contemporary Art Museum exhibition until October 10.

Not too far from Petrinja is Lonjsko Polje Nature Park, and you can learn more about it in our TC guide

For more about entrepreneurs in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange: Podravka Again Most Traded Stock

ZAGREB, 29 Sept, 2021 - The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) Crobex index on Wednesday decreased by 0.21% to 1,983 points, while the Crobex10 increased by 0.03% to 1,126 points.

Regular turnover was HRK 13.3 million.

Again, the most traded stock was the Podravka food company, which turned over more than HRK 4 million, closing at a record-high HRK 636 per share, up 1.3%.

Podravka has been recording an increase in turnover for three weeks, during which time its shares have mainly been bought by the Pivac meat industry, which holds 3.18% of Podravka's equity.

Forty-four stocks traded today, with 12 increasing in price and 20 decreasing, while 12 were stable.

(€1 = HRK 7.489688)

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Expectations For Croatia's Economy Close to Pre-Pandemic Level

ZAGREB, 29 Sept, 2021 - Expectations for Croatia's economy in September 2021 came close to the pre-pandemic level, supported by confidence in services and retail trade, while consumer confidence was down, a European Commission report said on Wednesday.

In September 2021, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) in Croatia went up 0.7 points on the month to 112.7, its highest level since February 2020, just before the pandemic broke out, when it was  at 113 points.

Services and retail trade confidence saw the highest increases, by 3.3 and 3 points, respectively, while industry confidence increased by 0.4 points.

Construction confidence decreased by 0.8 points and consumer confidence by 1.6.

Business leaders said they planned to intensify hiring in the coming period, resulting in a 0.9 point increase of the Employment Expectations Indicator (EEI) to 111.5, a record high since 2019.

Optimistic European consumers

In September 2021, the ESI remained unchanged in the EU (at 116.6) and broadly stable in the euro area (+0.2 points to 117.8).

Construction confidence went up by 1.8 points in the EU and by 2 points in the euro area, while consumer confidence went up by 1.1 points in the EU and by 1.3 in the euro area.

Industry confidence remained unchanged in the EU and marginally improved in the euro area.

Retail trade confidence decreased by 2.8 points in the EU and by 3.3 in the euro area, while services confidence decreased by 1.4 points in the EU and by 1.7 in the euro area.

The EEI increased further (+1.0 point to 113.6 in the EU and +0.8 points to 113.6 in the euro area).

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Page 1 of 20

Search