Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Strong Export Growth Gives Rise to Relative Optimism in Challenging Times

ZAGREB, 5 July 2022 - Weathering the challenges, Croatia's commodity exports have achieved a strong growth, and the number of exporters increased by 1,700 in 2021, giving rise to relative optimism in the current challenging times, it was said at a conference in Zagreb on Tuesday.

Croatian commodity exports are at the level of 2019, and despite the challenges, they achieved €7.5 billion in the first four months of this year, which is 35% more compared to the same period last year, it was said at the 9th edition of the conference "mart people know what exports are for".

"In times that are fraught with problems, starting with the covid pandemic, unfavourable circumstances caused by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, rising energy prices and difficulties in obtaining raw materials, exports still remain to be good news, something that is positive and is recording strong growth rates," State-Secretary in the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development Nataša Mikuš Žigman assessed.

The data are extremely good and positive, and were glad to see that the manufacturing industry contributes to the export growth rate with a share of 80%, says Mikuš Žigman.

It is the government's task to make it possible for these rates to remain stable or continue to rise, she said, adding that the government's activities are focused on several segments - on measures to ensure enough energy and other raw materials so that the economy can function normally and to continue conducting structural reforms. The focus is also on digitisation and the green economy, she said.

Mikuš Žigman also informed that the share of exporters in recipients of EU support is over 50% and that exporters use the opportunities available from the EU budget to the largest extent.

She also stated that 1,700 more exporting companies were recorded in 2021 than in 2020 and underscored that even in these challenging times there is room for "relative optimism."

The President of the Management Board of Podravka, Martina Dalić, said that this year turned out to be much more difficult, challenging and uncertain than they thought last year while making financial plans. The consequences of the pandemic have led to disruptions in the market that triggered off an increase in the price of raw materials, transport, and energy while the war in Ukraine led to new risks and a new price hike, Dalić elaborated.

 It will be fair to say that regardless of which measures have been taken by the government to protect us, we in the enterprise sector cannot fend off the effects of this crisis as this is a a crisis of global nature and has been caused by extreme shocks on the side of the supply, said Dalić adding that both for businesses and consumers challenging and hard times are ahead.

For more, check out our business section.

Thursday, 2 June 2022

Less Than Quarter of Croatian Scrap Metal Recycled, Rest Exported

June the 2nd, 2022 - Less than a mere one quarter of Croatian scrap metal actually ends up being recycled here in the country, with the rest of it being exported elsewhere.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, the European Union (EU) still has a lot of work to do to move to a truly green and circular economy, and this has only been further confirmed by data on waste exports. Back during 2021, according to a Eurostat report, the EU exported 33 million tonnes of waste elsewhere.

Most of it went to Turkey, and it was mainly made up of metal waste. At the same time, the bloc, which produces 2.3 billion tonnes of waste annually (according to the latest data, taken back in 2018) imported far less waste than it exported - 19.7 million tonnes.

What European Union leaders should be concerned about with this data is the growth of waste exports. Over a period of 17 years, more precisely from 2004 to 2021, it grew by as much as 77 percent. This, in turn, would mean that the EU, with a large amount of waste, should see it as valuable raw material according to the EU's Green Plan. Despite that, it seems that it doesn't know what to do, or it simply doesn't have the technology to process it.

The EU exports the most as a bloc, 14.7 million tonnes of it, to Turkey - almost half the amount and three times more than back in 2004. After Turkey, it exports the most to India (2.4 million tonnes) and Egypt (1.9 million tonnes).

Interestingly, China is no longer even among the top ten recipients of EU waste. Last year, the bloc exported only 400,000 tonnes to that country. China, it's now clear, does not want European Union garbage, especially when it is now known that in 2009, it imported as much as 10 million tonnes of it.

In terms of the type of waste, the EU exports the most scrap metal (iron and steel), which accounts for more than half (59%) of total exports. Most of this type of waste, 13.1 million tonnes of it to be more precise, is exported to Turkey. The Republic of Croatia, on the other hand, also exports most of its scrap metal, of which the country produces about 900,000 tonnes a year, to Turkey.

Namely, only 250,000 tonnes of Croatian scrap metal is actually recycled here within the borders of the country, 600,000 tonnes are exported, of which slightly less than 400,000 tonnes goes down to Turkey. The rest of the Croatian scrap metal remains in temporary storage at waste collectors.

The export of metals from Croatia is mostly in the hands of the company CE-ZA-R within the C.I.O.S. groups. The fact that the quantities of Croatian scrap metal have increased significantly in recent years is also shown by the fact that during the coronavirus crisis which began back in 2020, its exports increased five times, to about 600,000 tonnes. Last year, it was announced that exports would increase to about a million tonnes.

The fact that less than a quarter of Croatian scrap metal remains in the country speaks volumes about the state of the steel mills and foundries in this country. A good example is the former Sisak Ironworks, which once (back during the late eighties) employed about 14,000 people. Today, it is Italian-owned and called ABS Sisak, and employs just over a hundred workers with a processing capacity of about 280,000 tonnes of Croatian scrap metal per year.

However, the growth of metal prices on global stock exchanges has also encouraged that company to make new investments, seeing them recently announce the expansion of their processing capacity to half a million tonnes and giving the green light to investments of 400 million euros.

As for Croatian scrap metal, the Waste Management Act says that at least 50 percent of the mass should be recovered by recycling, followed by the preparation for reuse. But the state, judging by the response of the competent ministry, doesn't actually intend to intervene in increasing the amount of processing.

When asked if there are plans to process more scrap metal in Croatia, they answered that producers and processors, depending on market prices, trade in the most acceptable way at any given time.

In addition to metals, the European Union also exports significant quantities of paper - 4.4 million tonnes (13 percent of all waste). It is mostly exported to India. Waste is a valuable raw material, we've been hearing for years now, but it seems little is being done in regard to keeping more of it within Croatia, and within the EU as a bloc.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 30 May 2022

Exports in 2021 Up 29%, Imports by 24%

ZAGREB, 30 May 2022 - Croatia's commodity export in 2021 totalled HRK 144.3 billion, up by HRK 32 billion or 29% on the year, while import was valued at HRK 214 billion, up by 42 billion of 24%, the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS) reported on Monday.

The foreign trade deficit was around HRK 70 billion, increasing by about HRK 9 billion (+16%) from 2020.

The export-import ratio was 67.5% in 2021, whereas in 2020 it was 65%.

With a share of 81% in the total export in 2021, the manufacturing industry generated an increase in exports of about 21%, to HRK 116.3 billion thus contributing the most to overall export trends.

The manufacturing industry contributed the most also to import growth in 2021, accounting for 87% of all imports and an increase in imports of 19% from 2020, to HRK 186.4 billion.

Croatia's most important foreign trade partners in 2021 were EU member states, for 70% of the total exports and about 77% of the total imports.

In 2021, commodity exports to the EU totalled HRK 100 billion, up 31.3% on the year, while imports increased by 20.1% to HRK 163.9 billion.

The biggest foreign trade partners from the EU in 2021 were Germany, Italy and Slovenia.

Trade of goods with non-EU member states accounted for about 30% of the total export in 2021, an increase of about 23%, and for about 23% of the total import, which increased by about 39% compared to 2020.

The biggest foreign trade partners outside the EU in 2021 were Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United States and Serbia.

For more, check out our business section.

Monday, 10 January 2022

Croatian Exports Jump, As Do Prices of Products Sold Abroad

January the 10th, 2022 - Some real pandemic growth can be seen when looking at the data for Croatian exports and their numbers for last year. Not only did Croatian exports jump, but the prices of various products sold abroad by Croatian enterprises also did.

As Novac/Jutarnji/Marina Klepo writes, last year, Croatian exports increased by more than a quarter: in the first eleven months of 2021, according to the CBS, they grew by 26.6 percent (25.4 percent in 2021's first ten months).

However, Croatian exports haven't increased significantly only compared to pandemic-dominated 2020, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) pointed out, but their value in those first ten months of last year was 19.6 percent higher than back in the same period in pre-pandemic 2019. In addition, they added, Eurostat's data on the trade done by all EU member states shows that Croatia, both last year and a year earlier, was among the most successful EU countries.

"In the first ten months of last year, only Estonia and Greece had more dynamic export growth," they pointed out from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. When we talk about the reasons for such good export results, we can mostly refer to the low base in the last, pandemic-dominated year.

Export structures

According to the Croatian National Bank (CNB), the high growth rates of merchandise exports and imports are only a small part of the positive effect of the base period. To a much greater extent, "they reflect the recovery of bith domestic and foreign demand, the partial re-establishment of supply chains, a stronger recovery of the manufacturing industry in relation to the service sector and a marked increase in global prices of energy and other raw materials," reads the latest publication. More detailed data on the structure of Croatian exports also reveal the reasons for their strong growth. When compared to the previous year, HGK analysts explained, the largest increases can be seen in the value of exports of energy - electricity, crude oil and petroleum products - which last year saw a significant increase in terms of prices on the vast global market.

Among the products whose export value increased the most were electrical equipment, followed by metals and finished metal products, whose prices on the global market also rose sharply. Available import price data for the Eurozone shows that crude oil imports rose by about 60 percent year-on-year in the first ten months of 2021, total refining industries rose by about six percent, petroleum products increased by about 40 percent, metals by about 30 percent and electricity by more than an impressive 150 percent.

"Therefore, even in the absence of more detailed data, it's more than noticeable that global prices last year had a significant impact on the growth of the value of Croatian exports," explained the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. Although strong growth is largely based on price increases, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce pointed out that there are a number of activities in which such price increases haven't been recorded, but which also record high export growth rates. These are, for example, the food, chemical and wood processing industries. In addition to that, a number of activities recorded significantly better export results than they did back in 2019, for example, agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

"This is at the same time a consequence of a strong recovery in global demand, but also a greater orientation of companies towards exports," the Croatian Chamber of Commerce said. The only activity that still recorded a significantly lower value of exports than in the same period in 2019 remained the production of motor vehicles and trailers.

Key markets

When it comes to the preferences of Croatian exporters, the figures suggest that last year they maintained their orientation towards the European Union's single market (EU) and what are traditionally the most important export markets. The share of Croatian exports to the EU market increased in the first ten months of 2021 from 68 percent in 2019 to 68.8 percent last year. The highest growth was achieved in the five most represented markets: Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina (non EU/EEA) and Germany.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Croatian Companies Seeking New Export Opportunities at Anuga Food Fair

ZAGREB, 9 Oct, 2021 - Eight Croatian companies are showcasing their products at the Anuga food fair which is taking place in the German city of Cologne from 9 to 13 October, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) announced on Saturday, describing the fair as the central gathering point for food companies from throughout the world.

Croatia is represented by food and drink producers Kraš, Dupin, Pekar, Hermes International, Uje, Arabesca, Varžak Med and Prodan Tartufi.

Dragan Kovačević, the HGK vice-president for agriculture and tourism, said that this was the first fair of global significance to be taking place in person since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are glad about our members' interest in fairs despite the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, as well as the fact that the exhibition space is sold out. The HGK covers half of the costs for its members and we believe that our help will make it easier for them to find opportunities to enter new export markets," Kovačević said.

This year's show has attracted nearly 5,000 exhibitors from more than 100 countries. The previous fair, held in 2019, drew 165,000 professional visitors from 200 countries, which confirms its leading position in Europe, the HGK said.

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

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Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Croatian Agriculture Minister, Chinese Ambassador Discuss Pork Exports to China

ZAGREB, 14 Sept, 2021 - Croatian Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković has held an online meeting with Chinese Ambassador Xu Erwen to discuss ways of speeding up the procedure to obtain veterinary certificates and possibilities for pork exports to China, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The agricultural cooperation with China has intensified since 2006, and thanks to the China+17 initiative and the efforts by the Agriculture Ministry, the protocol on veterinary and public health requirements for dairy products intended for export from Croatia to China was signed in 2019, removing the obstacles to the sale of Croatian dairy products on the Chinese market.

Vučković mentioned Croatian requests towards the Chinese competent authority (GACC) regarding veterinary certificates for pork and pork products, fresh and frozen tuna, honey, beef and poultry, notably the export of tuna, pork and pork products from Croatia to China.

The Croatian ministry is in close communication with the GACC and Croatia is a step closer to getting a positive assessment as a country allowed to export pork and pork products to China, the statement said.

In 2020 the GACC was notified that the World Organisation for Animal Health had recognised Croatia as a country officially free of classic swine fever.

Between 2011 and 2020, with Croatia's entry into the European Union, Croatian agricultural and food exports to China increased ninefold, while at the same time imports from China decreased by more than double. In 2020 alone, the value of agricultural and food exports to China increased by 52% compared with 2019, to nearly €7 million.

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

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Croatian Bicycle Exports Increase as Global Bike Market Explodes

June the 5th, 2021 - Croatian bicycle exports have shot up as people choose a more active and outdoor-oriented lifestyle as a result of the ongoing public health crisis taking the world by storm.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, the bicycle business is becoming very profitable due to the consumption that exploded with the onset of the pandemic, even causing a shortage on the global market, but European manufacturers, especially Italian ones, are facing a dilemma as to whether to risk things and invest in new capacities, and they are cautious because they estimate that such interest could last two more years.

All bicycle manufacturers across the world are facing a big problem with the supply of the necessary key parts for bike production, such as gears and gearboxes, even for the well-known Japanese manufacturer Shimano, which meets as much as two thirds of the world's needs.

So far, manufacturers have been waiting for four months for the delivery of the ordered quantities from Shimano, and now that time has been increased to one year. A solution is sought in collaboration with other manufacturers to increase production.

Demand is growing

Statistics also show a massive increase in general demand for bicycles - from the United States, where demand jumped 120 percent, and the United Kingdom, having jumped to 45 percent, and according to Eurostat data, trade in bicycles is growing across EU member states, especially in trade for electric versions.

43 percent more bikes were exported than in 2019, almost 274 thousand of them with a total value of 427 million euros, while their imports were at the same time higher by 19 percent, and more than 839 thousand, worth 721 million euros in total, were imported.

Exports of "classic" bicycles produced in the EU also grew by as much as 35 percent, a total of 1.3 million worth 471 million euros were exported, while imports, unlike the overall global trend, were about 3 percent below the level of the previous year. This is a large amount - the import of almost 5 million bicycles worth 930 million euros.

The main market for European bicycles of all types, pedal and electric, was the United Kingdom, where more than a third were sold, and Switzerland, while almost a quarter of imported "classic" came from Cambodia, and more than half of electric bicycles are imported from Taiwan.

When it comes to Croatia, last year, according to Eurostat data, we imported 86 percent more bicycles, a total of 16.4 thousand worth 1.5 million euros, and Croatian bicycle exports increased by 122 percent - 1.7 thousand bikes worth half a million euros were exported.

An unsurprising lack of incentives in Croatia

When it comes to electric bikes, both Croatian bicycle exports and imports decreased when compared to pre-pandemic 2019, but their financial value is significantly higher. It is also interesting to note that in this case, the export realisation is higher than that of the imports - 354 electric bicycles worth 272 thousand euros were exported, and 286 worth 182 thousand euros were imported.

There are several producers who have entered this niche here in Croatia - Mate Rimac, and the young innovator Mate Ljubicic from Runovic. The demand for electric bicycles in this country would probably also grow quite significantly if people were granted incentives as part of encouraging e-mobility.

Last year, and this year as well, in the recently published public invitation of the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency, no non-refundable support is provided for the purchase of electric bicycles among electric vehicles.

However, regardless of the fact that the state decided to exclude bicycles in relation to other categories of vehicles, the example of the Italian city of Rome proves that there are other forms of incentives to be offered - such as up to 500 euros for the purchase of all types of bicycles.

For more, follow our dedicated business section.

Friday, 7 May 2021

Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS): Croatian export rises 9.5%, import 2.1% in 2021 Q1

ZAGREB, 7 May, 2021 - Croatia exported the commodities worth 30 billion kuna in the first three months of 2021, which was 9.5% more in comparison to the corresponding period in 2020, whereas the imports rose 2.1% to HRK 46.5 billion, the national statistical office (DZS) reported on Friday.

As a result, Croatia's foreign trade deficit in Q1 2021 narrowed by nine percent to HRK 16.45 billion compared to the 2020 Q1.

The coverage of the import by the export was 64.6%.

In the first three months of 2021, HRK 20.7 billion worth of goods was exported to the EU, 8.9% more on the year, and HRK 9.3 billion to non-EU countries (+10.9%).

The import of goods from the EU totalled HRK 36.7 billion, which was the same level as in the corresponding period of 2020, while import from other countries rose 11.4% to HRK 9.7 billion.

Expressed in euros, Croatia's goods export totalled €3.97 billion, up 7.9%, while import increased 0.6% to €6.1 billion.

The foreign trade deficit was €2,2 billion.

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

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Croatian Exporters Say National Recovery Plan Needs Transparent Project Criteria

ZAGREB, 14 April, 2021 - The National Recovery and Resilience Plan calls for extremely transparent criteria for selecting projects and contractors, as well as defining criteria which will protect the domestic economy, the Croatian Exporters Association said on Wednesday.

One of the priorities is for hundreds of thousands of young expats to return to Croatia, the association underscored.

Croatian Exporters said that they welcomed the 2021-2026 draft national plan, aimed at strengthening economic and social resilience of the Croatia economy, that is, "mitigating the social and economic impacts of the crisis and contributing to the green and digital transition", because many of the recommendations and requests they had been sending to the government in recent years had been partially taken into account.

However, they warn that there are some questions and doubts about the planned allocation of funds for the national plan's components, 54% of which should be earmarked for the economy.

"Have key performance indicators been defined, analyses conducted and effects of planned projects on long-term sustainable and harmonised growth and development of Croatia quantified? (...) Planned investments covered by the National Plan will certainly increased Croatia's GDP in the next six to eight years, but we doubt whether it will increase the long-term GDP growth rate," Croatian Exporters said in the review they sent to the government.

They are also under the impression that the domestic production and export processing industry has been neglected in the national plan.

"Digitalisation and the green economy... won't be sufficient drivers for a big step forward in the development and progress of the domestic industry. At the same time... projects aimed at infrastructure, energy, construction and tourism won't contribute to a significant improvement in the poor structure of the Croatian economy," the exporters' association said.

They also consider that it is necessary to define criteria that will protect the domestic economy.

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


Saturday, 19 December 2020

Croatia Agriculture and Food Exports Jump in 2020, Imports Fall

December 19, 2020 – A surprising success story in a difficult year as Croatia agriculture and food exports jump in 2020, while imports of the same have fallen

Good news from any place is welcome in this most difficult of years. According to provisional data from the country's Central Bureau of Statistics, the total value of Croatia agriculture and food exports in the period from January to September 2020 amounted to 1.7 billion Euros, an increase of 5 percent from the same period in 2019. Within the same period, the value of agricultural and food imports into Croatia was 2.5 billion Euros, a decline of 7.3 percent from last year.

The success of Croatia agriculture and food exports in the period means that the country's trade deficit has decreased by huge 26.6 percent compared to the same period last year. With this year's findings taken into account, the trade deficit now stands at 758.8 million Euros.

fieldsromi2.jpg© Romulić & Stojčić

Croatia agriculture and food exports covered 69 percent of total imports this year, an increase of 8.11 percent. A total of 15.86 percent of all exports from the country come from the Croatia agriculture and food exports sector.

The most important item of production within the sector is corn, which accounts for 5.4 percent of all Croatia agriculture and food exports.

From January to September 2020, the most significant products in exports were: cereals (205.4 million Euros – a growth of a huge 62.6 million Euros); various food products (168.1 million Euros – including manufactured/processed foods like sauces, soups, ice cream, sugar products); fish and other seafood (a huge 147.4 million Euros – showing a growth of 14.5 million Euros); cereals, flour, starch or milk products; confectionery products, including chocolate (135.9 million Euros – a growth of 13.8 million Euros), and tobacco-related products (122.6 million Euros). TCN recently took a closer look at the successful and well-established Croatian chocolate industry

Other successes within 2020 Croatia agriculture and food exports were live animals, with an increase of 10.1 million Euros, and the residue and waste of the food industry, which is exported to go into prepared animal foods. The latter saw an increase of 8.6 million Euros.


So far this year, Italy was one of the most important destinations for Croatia agriculture and food exports. Their total consumption of Croatia agriculture and food exports was 300.8 million Euros, which amounts to 17.76 percent of Croatia's exports in the sector. Croatia agriculture and food exports to Italy increased by 21.9 percent this year, while imports from Italy to Croatia in the same period was 263 million Euros, a decrease of 16.6 percent on 2019. This creates a surplus of 37.6 million Euros.

The most important Croatia agriculture and food exports to Italy are maize, wheat and soybeans, tobacco-related products, sea bass (brancin) and bream (orada).

For the last five years, Croatia agriculture and food exports top consumer has been Germany. For the past seven years, Germany has also been the country from which Croatia has imported the most.

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