Thursday, 29 April 2021

Croatian National Bank: Banks Still Do Not See Climate Change As Serious Threat to Business

ZAGREB, 29 April, 2021 - Most banks in Croatia still do not see climate change as a serious threat to their business, a survey carried out by the Croatian National Bank (HNB) showed on Thursday.

The survey was presented as part of an online conference called "The Role of Banks in Greening Our Economies", organised by the HNB and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The survey, carried out among 20 Croatian banks, showed that the banks did not see climate change as an immediate and serious threat to their business.

Only one bank said that climate change would have a generally significant impact on the Croatian banking system, 11 banks said that the impact would be moderate, while eight said that it would be insignificant.

Only two banks have a climate change-related strategy included in their overall business strategy, expressing concern about risks and anticipating possible changes to the regulatory framework. On the other hand, 15 banks said they were waiting for the regulators to take the initial steps in this regard.

Responding to the question about risk materialisation, 10 banks said that climate risks would not materialise in the near future, while 11 said they were not attaching major importance to exposure to climate change and environmental risks to their portfolio.

Physical risk includes the financial impact of climate change, and five sectors in Croatia are particularly vulnerable to it - tourism, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and energy distribution. More than a quarter of Croatian banks' exposures to non-financial institutions concern these sectors, mostly tourism, the survey showed.

However, none of the banks has so far assessed its exposure to climate and environmental risks, citing lack of reliable data and methodology as well as lack of qualified staff.

The sectors facing the biggest transition risk from climate change are transport and traffic, agriculture, motor vehicles, energy and oil products, and construction.

Only 9 banks offer green product to their customers

Most banks recognise opportunities brought by the transition to a low-carbon economy, with three-quarters of them saying they could benefit from this transition by financing green projects. However, only nine banks said they were offering a green product to their customers, such as loans for the energy renovation of buildings or the purchase of electric vehicles.

 HNB Governor Boris Vujčić said in his opening remarks that both the HNB and EBRD had acknowledged their responsibility for highlighting the role of banks in the climate transition. He recalled the Paris climate change agreement of 2015, which has been ratified by 189 countries, saying that it set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent further global warming.

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Thursday, 29 April 2021

INA's Q1 Net Profit HRK 50 Million

ZAGREB, 29 April, 2021 - INA posted the net profit of HRK 50 million in the first three months of 2021, according to the latest quarterly financial report released by this leading Croatian oil group on Thursday.

For the sake of comparison, in the Q1 2020, INA registered a loss of HRK 178 million.

In the first three months of 2021, the group's revenues totalled HRK 4.17 billion, rising by 0.6% on the year, whereas the expenditures contracted 19.7% to 4.11 billion kuna.

The statement reads that "the beginning of 2021 was marked by a more favorable external environment compared to 2020, which was one of the most challenging years for oil & gas industry."

"Although world economy is still far from recovery and demand is limited, impact of gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions is visible," it says.

"EBITDA reached HRK 467 million and Profit for the period amounted to HRK 50 million, in contrast with the losses in 2020 caused by a large drop in hydrocarbon prices and consequent negative inventory revaluation," INA reported in its financial statement.

"Exploration and production benefited from the increased hydrocarbon prices but natural decline continued with production level below 28 th boe/d, 12% lower compared to Q1 2020. This drove the segment’s EBITDA to HRK 401 million, 5% lower compared to Q1 2020."

In Q1 2021, INA entered a new concession in Egypt, following efforts to partly compensate for the natural decline of production on domestic fields.

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Thursday, 29 April 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange Indices Rebound

ZAGREB, 29 April, 2021 - The main Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices rebounded on Thursday, with the Crobex rising by 0.38% to 1,894.08 points and the Crobex10 by 0.35% to 1,177.76 points.

Turnover at the close of the trading session was HRK 10.6 million, nearly seven million higher than on Wednesday.

The highest turnover, of HRK 1.5 million, was generated by the stock of the Atlantic retail group, which closed at HRK 1,490 per share, down by 0.67%.

The Končar Elektroindustrija stock turned over HRK 1.42 million, ending the day at HRK 715 per share, up 5.15%.

The HT telecommunications company saw its share price rise by 0.79% to HRK 192, turning over HRK 1.4 million.

The only other stock to pass the turnover mark of one million kuna was that of the Valamar Riviera hotel company, turning over HRK 1.2 million. Its price fell by 0.69% to HRK 28.90 per share.

A total of 41 stocks traded today, with 23 of them registering share price decreases, 12 recording price increases and six remaining stable in price.

(€1 = HRK 7.558778) 

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Thursday, 29 April 2021

Convergence Programme: Croatia's Economy to Rise 5.2% in 2021, 6.6% in 2022

ZAGREB, 29 April (Hina) - The Croatian government expects the national economy to rise at a rate of 5.2% in 2021, which is 0.3 percentage points more than its previous forecast, the government said at its meeting on Thursday when it adopted the 2022-2024 Convergence Programme.

Economic activity is expected to pick up at a rate of 6.6% in 2022.

The Convergence Programme is a document that is adopted on a regular basis in dialogue with the European Union's institutions as part of the European semester.

This year's document also deals with macroeconomic, fiscal and other economic effects of the draft National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO), which was forwarded today to the European Commission for final fine-tuning.

Addressing the meeting, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said that the effects of the NPOO raised the projected growth rate by 0.3 percentage points. Furthermore, growth of 6.6% and 4.1% is forecast for 2022 and 2023 respectively,

The finance minister said that these rates have 1.5 percentage points of the effects made by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

In 2024 the economy is expected to rise at a rate of 3.4%.

Marić pointed out growing commodity and services exports as a positive contribution to the growth.

Domestic consumption and investments will also give tailwinds to the growth.

2021 budget gap at 3.8% to narrow in coming years

The projections from the Convergence Programme, including the fiscal elements, will serve as an input in the preparation of the budget revision, the minister said.

Concerning the expenditure side, the minister pointed out the costs incurred due to the COVID-19 epidemic, which have reached HRK 32 billion.

He said that in 2020, HRK 14.1 billion was used to offset the pandemic and an additional 8.6 billion this year. Of that amount, the  largest portion was used for the job retention scheme, including grants for job-keeping measures, shortened working hours, and the coverage of the fixed costs of enterprises.

In the healthcare system, the COVID-related costs covered the procurement of coronavirus tests and now vaccine supplies, Marić added

Therefore, the initial plan of this year's budget gap of 2.9% has widened to 3.8% of GDP, the minister explained.

In 2022, the budget gap should be within the limits set by the Maastricht criteria (-2.6%), and in 2023 it would narrow to 1.9% and further to 1.5% in 2024, according to the minister's explanation.

Marić recalled that Croatia had left the excessive deficit procedure in 2017 and was no longer in the group of countries with excessive economic imbalances, regaining the status of a creditworthy country. He also underscored Croatia's aspirations to adopt the euro.

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Thursday, 29 April 2021

Government Adopts Draft National Recovery and Resilience Plan, to Send it to European Commission

ZAGREB, 29 April, 2021 - The Croatian government on Thursday adopted the Draft National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO) 2021-2027, worth HRK 49 billion, and it will send it to the European Commission for final harmonisation.

The document, which has more than 1,100 pages, contains descriptions of 77 reforms and 152 investments on which EU funds will be spent. It has five components and one initiative: the business sector, with investments amounting to HRK 26.2 billion or 54% of the total amount; public administration, justice and state assets (HRK 4.36 billion or 10%); education, science and research (HRK 7.5 billion or 15%); labour market and social protection (HRK 2.09 billion or 4%); health (HRK 2.56 billion or 5%); and the initiative "Reconstruction of buildings", with planned investments amounting to HRK 5.95 billion or 12% of the NPOO funding.

Sixty-six percent of the amount or HRK 32.15 billion is intended for recovery while 34% or HRK 16.5 billion is intended for resilience.

PM Andrej Plenković said the NPOO was a key document that "will enable us to use, in the next five years, more than HRK 47 billion for structural reforms and investments that will contribute to our economic recovery and make us more resilient to future crises."

If necessary, by the end of 2023 Croatia will also be able to seek loans in the amount of around €3.6 billion or HRK 27 billion, he said.

Economic recovery primarily refers to investments in those sectors that can guarantee fast economic growth in the short and long run, as well as job preservation and job creation, said Plenković.

Each component has 'digital' and 'green' elements, the goal being to reach the targets of 20% of investments being directed to digital transformation and 37% of investments being directed towards green transition.

Macroeconomic effects

According to projections, the NPOO's effects are expected to contribute to a real GDP growth in 2021 of 5.2% instead of 4.9% without the NPOO, while growth in 2022 would be 6.6% instead of 5.2% without the NPOO, and in 2023 it would be 4.1% instead of 2.7% without the NPOO. In 2024 the effects of the NPOO would result in a 3.4% economic growth instead of 2.5%, and in 2025 it would help achieve a 2.7% growth rate instead of 2.5%.

The government expects the implementation of the NPOO to cumulatively increase GDP by an additional 4.2% in 2025 in relation to 2020.

In the last year of its implementation, 2026, the NPOO will have resulted in GDP being close to HRK 17 billion higher than it would be without the NPOO.

Concrete examples of NPOO implementation

PM Plenković said that the implementation of the NPOO would make it possible to achieve the European target share of renewables in energy consumption (for Croatia the target is 36.6%) and achieving the European target of at least 14% of renewables in the transport sector until 2026. Investments in water management are planned as well to make drinking water available to around 93% of the population.

The plan also envisages better coverage with broadband infrastructure, access to fast internet for citizens and the business sector, and reduction of the number of outstanding cases at municipal courts by at least 5% by mid-2026.

The NPOO also envisages an increase in the share of children aged between 4 and school age who are covered by early preschool education, from 81% to 96%, which is the EU target.

Also envisaged are investments to create conditions to create as many jobs as possible for the sake of increasing the employment rate from 66.7% to 70% by the end of 2024.

"Labour market reforms and policies will help provide conditions to create at least 100,000 new jobs, with emphasis on people under 30 and the self-employed," said the PM.

Investment of HRK 2.5 billion in the health system is aimed, among other things, at raising the survival rate for cancer patients from 46 to 51% and saving around 5,000 lives. Also planned is the continuation of the functional integration of hospitals.

Post-earthquake reconstruction accounts for 12% of funds expected to be obtained under the NPOO, while the projected energy consumption for heating is expected to be reduced by at least 50% for buildings renovated as part of the NPOO.

Plenković said that in the next ten years and mostly in the first five, Croatia would have at its disposal close to €30 billion from EU funds. The amount is a unique opportunity to contribute to modernisation and growth of the business sector and Croatia's social and even development, he said.

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Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange Indices Go Down

ZAGREB, 28 April, 2021 - The main Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices declined on Wednesday amid modest trading, with the Crobex dropping by 0.71% to 1,886 points and the Crobex10 decreasing by 0.35% to 1,173 points.

With regard to sectoral indices, only the food index saw an increase, of 0.02%, while the construction index saw the biggest decline, of 3.55%.

Today's regular turnover amounted to HRK 3.7 million, about HRK 100,000 more than on Tuesday. The preferred share of the Adris tourism and insurance company generated another HRK 2.05 million in block trading, closing at HRK 407 per share.

The Podavka food company generated the highest turnover in regular trading, slightly over HRK 2 million. The price of its shares went up by 0.73% to HRK 554 per share.

Shares of telecommunications equipment manufacturer Ericsson Nikola Tesla generated a turnover HRK 1.16 million, closing at HRK 1,650 per share, down 0.6%.

A total of 35 stocks traded today, with seven of them recording share price increases, 20 registering share price decreases and eight remaining stable in price.

(€1 = 7.566274)

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Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange Crobex Index Surpasses 1,900 Points

ZAGREB, 27 April, 2021 - The Crobex index of the Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) went up on Tuesday for the fourth trading day in a row, closing above 1,900 points for the first time since February 2020, while trading remained modest.

The Crobex increased by 0.27% to 1,900.52 points, while the Crobex10 slipped by 0.03% to 1,177.83 points.

Today's regular turnover was HRK 3.6 million, which is about HRK 600,000 less than on Monday.

The only stock to cross the one million kuna turnover mark was the Atlantska Plovidba shipping company with a turnover of HRK 1.35 million. Its price went up for the seventh consecutive day, today by 3.56%, to HRK 262 per share.

A total of 50 stocks traded today, with 19 of them recording share price increases, 15 registering price decreases and 16 remaining stable in price.

(€1 = 7.567140)

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Friday, 23 April 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange Indices Increase

ZAGREB, 23 April, 2021 - The main Zagreb Stock Exchange indices increased mildly on Friday with the Crobex increasing by 0.20% to 1,887.11 points and the Crobex10 closing at 1,173.79 points, up 0.1%.

Indices closed the week in different directions, and the Crobex was up 0.45% while the Crobex10 was 0.22% weaker on the week.

Regular turnover on Friday amounted to HRK 6.5 million which is about two million less than on Thursday.

The only stock to cross the million kuna mark was the Atlantska Plovidba shipping company with a turnover of HRK 1.6 million. Its shares increased by 3.83% to HRK 244. This is the fifth day in a row for its shares to increase and they recorded a significant increase of 28.42% on the week.

Forty-one stocks traded today, the prices of 18 of them fell, 15 increased in price and for eight the price remained the same.

(€1 = HRK 7.572279)

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Friday, 23 April 2021

HT to Pay Shareholders HRK 8 Per Share in Dividend

ZAGREB, 23 April, 2021 - The Croatian Telecom (HT) telecommunications company's General Assembly on Friday decided that it would pay its shareholders a dividend of HRK 8 per share of its 2020 profit.

The assembly determined that HT generated a net profit of  HRK 703.8 million in 2020 and that of that amount HRK 641.9 million shall be paid out as dividend to shareholders, in the amount of HRK 8.00 per share.

Part of the net profit or HRK 61.9 million shall be allocated as retained earnings.

The dividend will be paid out to all shareholders that are registered at the Central Depository & Clearing Company (SKDD) on 6 May 2021.

The dividend will be paid on 17 May 2021.

(€1 = HRK 7.572279)

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Friday, 23 April 2021

Croatian Employment in March 2021: Winning on Monthly Basis, Losing Compared to 2020

April 23, 2021 - Data analyzed by the Croatian Bureau of Statistics saw Croatian Employment in March 2021 rise compared to February but is overall lower than last year.

Employment in Croatia is overall down for 1.5% - concludes an article in Slobodna Dalmacija. This is the result of a statistical analysis conducted for this year's March compared to March 2020. The biggest fall in employment is evident in the hotel industry and hospitality. Last March, 410 people were employed in the sector, adding to the total number of 61,913, but that number is smaller for 5,087 people compared to last year when the number of employed in hotel tourism and hospitality counted 67,000.

„Compared to February, the total number of employed (in March) is up by 0.8% but compared to the same month last year; the numbers are down by 1.5%“, Slobodna Dalmacija quoted the explanation of Croatian Bureau of Statistics.

The process manufacturing industry also counts losses. Despite 2,129 newly employed people who boosted 225,287 workers in the sector, that number is down by 2000 workers less as last year the count was 227,287.  

Merchants count a rise of 803 new workers, 201,117 in total. But, this time last year the total number was 205,167, so this year's there are 4,050 people less in the sector.

On the other hand, several sectors can celebrate victory over statistics from 2020.

The construction sector hired 1,060 new workers. 100,234 people in total this year gives a 5924 boost compared to last year's 195,193 employed people.

Education has 1,094 new workers this month, 120,246 in total. This time last year's there were 117,891 people in total, which suggest 2,355 people increase.

Public service, social security, and defense sectors increase by 648 people to a total of 111,785. In conclusion, 1,325 more people are welcomed to the sector, compared to 2020 when there was 110460 in the mentioned sectors.  

Expectedly, health and social care sectors in March counted 102,636 employed, which is a 1,392 increase compared to last year's 101,244 employed people.

In absolute numbers, the mentioned sectors had the biggest influence on the total rise of employment in Croatia last month, which jumped to 11,302 people, 1,518,034 in total.

 The Bureau added that when counting all minuses and pluses, last year's numbers are better, but the progress is happening in this year nonetheless.  

Additionally, the average salary in Croatia is  7038 kuna, pointed out Slobodna Dalmacija.

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