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.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Croatian IT Industry Growing Also in Pandemic, Seeking Strategic Status

ZAGREB, 7 Dec, 2021 - Croatia's IT industry has shown resilience also in the current pandemic, and in 2020 it saw revenues in the amount of HRK 28 billion and grew, though less than in 2019, going up by 3.3%. It is also looking for the status of a strategic branch considering its importance for all sectors, an analysis shows.

The analysis of the IT sector, made by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), was presented on Tuesday.

"The IT industry in Croatia employs 35,000 people or 6% more than in 2019, with the average wage having risen to around HRK 9,000, which is 60% above the average net wage in the business sector. In 2020 IT covered 5,700 companies, up 4% from 2019, which were important for digital transformation and social development. The industry could achieve more if the state improved the institutional framework and declared it a strategic branch," HGK Vice-President for Industries and Sustainable Development Tomislav Radoš said.

In that regard, expectations from a review of the Smart Specialisation Strategy are great in the sense that it could help enhance the status of the IT industry and make it even more active in digitalisation. Three more months are left to complete the review after which we can use it in negotiations with the European Commission about money from EU funds and other matters, Radoš said.

He noted that slightly more than HRK 9 billion or 32.5% of the 2020 revenue in the IT industry were exports, an increase of one billion kuna or 13% from 2019.

The State Secretary at the Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry, Mile Horvat, said that in 2022, in addition to the review of the Smart Specialisation Strategy, also expected was the adoption of a national plan for digital transformation and artificial intelligence. IT is also an important part of the National Development Strategy for the period until 2030, he added.

Share of IT in GDP 2.5%; new jobs constantly created

The HGK analysis shows that the share of the IT industry in GDP in 2020 grew to 2.5% despite the pandemic, as well as that it keeps creating new jobs, having opened 11,000 jobs in the past five years (including 2020), with 2020 alone seeing an increase in the number of new jobs of around 2,000 compared to 2019.

Most or 55% of employees in the IT industry work in IT companies that provide services, while 28.4% work in prepackaged software manufacturers and more than 6% each work with equipment and software retailers and with outsourcing providers.

Zagreb has a dominant role in the IT industry, accounting for almost 78% or HRK 21.7 billion of the revenue in the IT sector in 2020. It is followed by Istria County, with a share of 5% in the total revenue, and Zagreb County, with a share of 3%.

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

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 4 December 2021

Hoteliers Expect Advent Festivities To Contribute to Better Business Results

ZAGREB, 4 Dec, 2021 - Hotels in Zagreb as well as hotels open in December elsewhere in Croatia expect the Advent season and the Christmas and New Year festivities to contribute to hotel occupancy figures, however, the pandemic is likely to cut guest turnovers by 40% compared to 2019.

These figures were presented by the chairwoman of the hoteliers' cluster within the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), Josipa Jutt Ferlan, in her interview which Hina published on Saturday.

Jutt Ferlan says that the epidemiological developments make it difficult to forecast the results of this year's Advent season.

She projects that in December 2022 hotels could reach the volume of their business in December 2019.

Jutt Ferlan, who is also Cluster General Manager at Hilton hotels in Zagreb, tells Hina that inquiries about the Advent in Zagreb events and bookings of accommodations hint at good results notably during weekends this December.

Commenting on COVID certificates, she underscores that many business activities and many event organisers rely on the COVID certificate and on vaccination as a way out of the pandemic and return to the normal life.

In many European countries the COVID certificate mandate has already been introduced also for hotels, restaurants and cafes, she says adding that there are more and more foreign visitors who  ask why hotels or spa facilities in Croatia have not yet imposed the mandatory certificates.

If all other countries, our competition, introduce this requirement, then our "safe stay" designation will become meaningless, if we do not impose certificates, too, she explains.

Jutt Furlan added that the government's job-retention grants had made it possible for hotels to keep doing business and keep their workers during the lockdown.

She says that that during the last summer season, Zagreb hotels fared well, explaining that a good summer season along the coast also means a good summer season for Zagreb.

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

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

2020 Golden Kuna Awards go to HS Produkt, Gamepires, GT Trade, PBZ...

November the 11th, 2021 - The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) has awarded its 2020 Golden Kuna awards (Zlatna kuna) to numerous Croatian companies which have experienced success and aided the domestic economy during the unprecedented and extremely challenging coronavirus-dominated year of 2020.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce's 2020 Golden Kuna awards were awarded recently for the 25th time, at a ceremony which could only be attended by those possessing covid certificates at Zagreb's Westin hotel. The winners are in eight categories - for small, medium and large companies, the most successful bank and insurance company, for innovation, for responsible and sustainable business and for what's known as ''life's work''.

Dok-Ing is rather unsurprisingly the winner of the 2020 Golden Kuna for innovation, PBZ (Privredna banka Zagreb) has been proclaimed the best Croatian bank of last year, and Croatia osiguranje (insurance) has been declared the best insurance company of 2020.

When it comes to being awarded for responsible and sustainable business, Jadran - Galenic Laboratory took home the 2020 Golden Kuna award. Zagreb's Gamepires won the same in the small business category, G.T. Trade from Split won in terms of the best medium-sized company, while HS Produkt from Karlovac won as the best large company. Special awards and recognitions were also presented along with the 2020 Golden Kuna awards.

The Croatian Employment Service (CES) has won an award for its efficiency in implementing government economic measures to preserve jobs due to the pandemic which were readily introduced last year. Dragutin Kamenski, the owner of the construction company Kamgrad, received the 2020 Golden Kuna for his life's work. The Croatian Chamber of Commerrce also presents the Golden Kuna awards for business success and contribution to the domestic economy.

The list of nominations is based on the calculation of established indicators, and the business image of domestic companies, the impact on the development of the activity to which they belong and the contribution to the development of the Croatian economy as a whole are adequately evaluated.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

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.

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.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

 

Monday, 27 September 2021

Voice of Entrepreneurs Director Running for President of Croatian Chamber of Economy

September 27, 2021 - An interesting candidate has entered the race to be the new President of Croatian Chamber of Economy - Dražen Oreščanin Executive Director of the Voice of Entrepreneurs Association (Glas Poduzetnika - UGP)

The press release in full:

THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF UGP IS READY TO ASSIST THE INSTITUTION THAT HAS BEEN IN CRISIS FOR YEARS

Dražen Oreščanin is running for president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce

After the significant role he played in founding today's leading and most massive association of entrepreneurs with almost 18,000 volunteer members, Dražen Oreščanin has decided to make his experience and knowledge available to the Croatian Chamber of Economy, an institution in a great and long-standing crisis.

The state leadership has very often made unfounded and inappropriate accusations against the Association of theVoice of Entrepreneurs that the Association wanted to destroy Croatian institutions such as the Croatian Chamber of Economy. This candidacy of one of the leading people of the Association not only denies the statements of the state leadership, but also indeed shows the opposite to be the case, that UGP wants to fix and change for the better everything that politics destroyed and spoiled in the mandates of the previous and current president, who were and are primarily the selection of political elites.

The Croatian Chamber of Economy must be led by entrepreneurs and must work in the interest of entrepreneurs. Today, the vast majority of forced members of the Croatian Chamber of Economy have no confidence in this institution and do not want to be its members. Oreščanin has the full support of UGP President Hrvoje Bujas and UGP Board of Directors for his candidacy, who believe that modern and independent chamber organizations, which are at the service of their members, are one of the fundamental goals of the Association.

"Finally, entrepreneurs have a candidate for president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, and if they were elected, I am sure that Drazen would be, because with his knowledge and experience, and his work so far, he deserves it. Burilović was appointed by politics, it is time to leave, and for the Croatian Chamber of Economy to become an independent association based on voluntary membership " - said Hrvoje Bujas, president of UGP.

Dražen Oreščanin's program for restoring the trust of entrepreneurs in the Croatian Chamber of Economy is based on three strategic points.

The first point is the depoliticization and restoration of the reputation of the Croatian Chamber of Economy. The functioning of the Croatian Chamber of Economy must be depoliticized and the leadership of the Croatian Chamber of Economy should be independent of politics and political parties. The Croatian Chamber of Economy must no longer be a dumping ground for worn-out political personnel and a place for the employment of party youth.

The second point is voluntary membership. In this way, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce will get rid of all those who do not want to be members and will be able to focus on those who really want to be members and support them efficiently and well, instead of spending resources (which someone has to pay) on a large number of small members. pay the membership fee according to the existing bill. In the future, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce should function on a market basis.

The third point is to raise the quality of services and attract new volunteer members. The Croatian Chamber of Economy must provide top services to its members, and thus attract new members, whether they are existing or newly established companies. It is necessary to redefine the existing services, and to design and implement new services that will bring additional value to the membership.

Dražen Oreščanin's impeccable business and entrepreneurial career is a guarantee that these changes will be made. Dražen is one of the founders and partners, and a long-time President of the Management Board of Poslovna inteligencija d.o.o., a company that today has branches in seven countries and employs 140 people in Croatia, and a total of 170 people. Business Intelligence is the winner of the Golden Marten plaque of the Zagreb Chamber for 2018. He has many years of experience in running entrepreneurial associations - from 2013 to 2016 he was a member of the Board and President of the Croatian Association of Independent Software Exporters (CISEx), and since April 2020 he has been the executive director of the Voice of Entrepreneurs.

"The only right way to build civil society is to build independent institutions. In Croatia, all civic institutions, including the Croatian Chamber of Economy, have always been dependent on politics and political appointments. If I am elected to the position of President of the Croatian Chamber of Economy, it will be a precedent and the real beginning of changes and reforms. I believe that the ruling policy will show maturity this time and that it will not interfere in the process of electing the President of the Croatian Chamber of Economy by forcing a party candidate. I would like to have an opponent who, with his knowledge, experience and attitude, is really a real competitor, and not a puppet of political players, so let the President of the Croatian Chamber of Economy become the best, not the most suitable candidate. We have to return the Croatian Chamber of Economy to its original owners, which are Croatian entrepreneurs. " - said Dražen Oreščanin, executive director of the Voice of Entrepreneurs association and candidate for president of the Croatian Chamber of Economy.

***

The VOICE OF ENTREPRENEURS initiative was launched as a self-organization of citizens, mostly small entrepreneurs, after the publication of the first package of economic measures of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, which the initiators assessed as insufficient. Since in less than 15 days it gathered more than 100,000 entrepreneurs, craftsmen, self-employed and private sector employees and attracted a lot of media attention with its uncompromising demands and appearances, GLAS PODUZETNIKA positioned itself as a relevant factor in public debates on determining Croatia's new economic direction. The same was confirmed by the Government of the Republic of Croatia, which, within the second package of economic measures, adopted some of the proposals of the initiative and thus confirmed its undeniable impact. At the request of the members of the initiative, the Association GLAS PODUZETNIKA was founded, which has gathered more than 17,700 members since its establishment, and the Association is supported by over 250,000 citizens of Croatia.

For the latest news from the Voice of Entrepreneurs Association, follow the dedicated TCN section

Friday, 27 August 2021

HGK Says Robust Growth in Q2 in Line with Expectations

ZAGREB, 27 Aug 2021 - The robust growth in the second quarter of 2021 is within expectations based on the relevant indicators, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) said on Friday in its comment on the preliminary data showing the Q2 16.1% economic growth year-on-year.

The HGK's analysis shows that all the big sectors had high growth rates in the second quarter compared to 2020 Q2.

For instance, industrial output increased 13.9%, retail trade jumped 20.5%, and the volume of construction work increased 16% in the second quarter this year, the HGK recalls. Furthermore, tourist arrivals skyrocketed 131.7% compared to the second quarter of 2020, and their overnight stays increased 129.2%.

The HGK says that all the basic activities contributed to the growth on the year.

For more on business, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Burilović Says HGK Needs Further Reforms, Possibly up to 150 Layoffs

ZAGREB, 13 July, 2021 -.The president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), Luka Burilović, said on Tuesday  that further reform moves were necessary for that institution, and added that up to 150 people might be laid off.

Addressing the HGK general assembly in Zagreb, Burilović said that after 30 years, this institution would be overhauled due to the new legislation on the HGK.

Also on Tuesday, Economy Minister Tomislav Ćorić outlined to lawmakers a new bill on the chamber, explaining that the purpose of the new legislation was to encourage positive changes and not to undermine the reputation of the HGK.

Last week, the government sent to the parliament a draft bill on the HGK whereby the mandatory membership fee will be waived for more than 95% of entrepreneurs in Croatia.

The bill envisages three categories of members.

The first group includes members who can apply for the fee waiver if they meet at least two of the following three criteria: their total assets do not exceed HRK 7.5 million, their annual revenues do not exceed 15 million kuna, and/or the number of people on their payroll is below 50.

The second category comprises those who surpass at least two of the above mentioned criteria, however, they do not surpass the following three criteria: assets of 30 million kuna, their annual revenues do not go beyond HRK 60 million and the number of their employees is up to 250.

The third category includes those who surpass two of the requirements set forth for the second category.

Category 1 members, an estimated 126,000 businesses whose monthly fee has been 42 kuna so far, will be exempt from the mandatory membership, however, they will pay additional services and products of the Chamber, as specified in the HGK price list.

They will be offered the possibility to pay voluntary membership aimed at stimulating the modernisation of the workings of the chamber.

Members from Category 2 and 3 are supposed to pay the mandatory membership fee and the fee will be defined for each category on an annual basis.

Addressing the HGK assembly, Burilović said that when he came at the helm of this institution in 2015, the first wave of reforms started and at the time the HGK personnel was downsized from 670 to 380. He expects the further layoffs  and also recalled that fees had been slashed four times in the said period.

After the implementation of the new law, the chamber is likely to have 230 people on its payroll.

The HGK assembly today decided to exempt businesses from the quake-hit areas from the fee payment in the rest of this year.

Also businesses from the hailstorm-affected parts of Požega-Slavonia County are exempt from the payment of membership fees this year.

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

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Over 95% of Entrepreneurs to Receive HGK Fee Waiver Under New Law

ZAGREB, 8 July 2021 - The government on Thursday sent to the parliament a draft bill on the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) whereby the mandatory membership fee will be waived for more than 95% of entrepreneurs in Croatia, Economy Minister Tomislav Ćorić said.

The bill envisages three categories of members.

The first group includes members who can apply for the fee waiver if they meet at least two of the following three criteria: their total assets do not exceed HRK 7.5 million, their annual revenues do not exceed 15 million kuna, and/or the number of people on their payroll is below 50.

The second category comprises those who surpass at least two of the above-mentioned criteria, however, they do not surpass the following three criteria: assets of 30 million kuna, their annual revenues do not go beyond HRK 60 million and the number of their employees is up to 250.

The third category includes those who surpass two of the requirements set forth for the second category.

Category 1 members will be exempt from the mandatory membership, however, they will pay additional services and products of the Chamber, as specified in the HGK price list.

They will be offered the possibility to pay voluntary membership aimed at stimulating the modernization of the workings of the chamber.

Members from Category 2 and 3 are supposed to pay the mandatory membership fee and the fee will be defined for each category on an annual basis.

The current legislation regulating the HGK was adopted in 1991. Under that law, the lion's share of members, that is 96.7%, pay a monthly fee of 42 kuna and have access to most of the services and products provided by the chamber.

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

Page 1 of 11

Search