Friday, 9 July 2021

Total Value of 2020 Real Estate Market Transactions Up 0.5% to HRK 40bn

ZAGREB, 9 July 2021- In 2020, there were 103,000 transactions on Croatia's real estate market, or 7.7% fewer than in 2019, probably due to the COVID-19 pandemic to some extent, however the total value of real estate reached HRK 40 billion, 0.5% higher than in 2019.

The value of real estate transactions was equivalent to 11% of Croatia's Gross Domestic Product, and these figures were outlined at a news conference held in Zagreb on Friday on the occasion of the presentation of the annual publication "Croatia's 2020 Real Estate Market Overview", prepared by the construction and physical planning ministry and the Zagreb Institute of Economics (EIZ).

The ministry's state secretary, Željko Uhlir, said the residential real estate segment had the largest share in the market in terms of value of transactions, however most transfers were on the market of farmland and construction land and plots.

Every one in three transactions (33.3 %) were on the farmland market, and 16% of all transactions were sales of construction land.

Commenting on price rises, Ivana Rašić of the EIZ said that in 2020, the biggest increase in prices when it came to the real estate market were registered in the Adriatic counties of Croatia and in the capital city of Zagreb.

"The median flat price per square metre for the whole of Croatia was approximately HRK 9,600 in 2020," she said.

In Dubrovnik, for instance, the median flat price was HRK 19,000 per square metre and in Zagreb about HRK 11,000, she added.

Demand for new residential properties rose across the country, however houses in Zagreb, Split Rijeka, Pula and in their environs were also in high demand, Rašić said.

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Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Members of Parliament Hope For Revival of Capital Market

ZAGREB, 26 May, 2021 - Amendments to the Capital Market Act, which are aimed at further aligning Croatia's regulatory framework with the EU acquis, were supported on Wednesday by both the Opposition and the ruling majority in the parliament, who expressed hopes for the revival of the capital market. 

This is one of the most complicated laws that summarises what kind of capital market Europe wants, said Social Democrat MP Boris Lalovac, warning that Croatia's capital market was far less developed than the European.

"The value of the capital market in Croatia is HRK 276 billion, 140 billion are stocks and 130 billion securities, the annual turnover of the Zagreb Stock Exchange is around HRK 3 billion while the turnover on the OTC market is HRK 27 billion," Lalovac said.

That shows that outside of the stock exchange and capital markets, which have strict rules, trading is ten times greater, Lalovac said, expressing hope this would change.

Grozdana Perić of the HDZ said that better oversight and regulation would enable further development of the capital market in Croatia.

She warned, however, that the coronavirus crisis had caused an outflow of funds from investment funds and that their value had dropped by more than 35% or HRK 8 billion.

That is one of the reasons for amending the law, said the State Secretary at the Finance Ministry, Stjepan Čuraj, who presented the amendments to MPs.

"If we take as an example the Zagreb Stock Exchange alone, during the pandemic in 2020 it dropped by more than 35%, from 2,000 to 1,300 basis points," Čuraj said, noting that there was room for improvement.

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

Friday, 19 March 2021

Croatian National Bank: "45% of Croatia's Citizens Support Euro Adoption"

ZAGREB, 19 March, 2021 - The percentage of Croatian citizens who support the adoption of the euro in February this year has reached 45%, up by four percentage points from 41% in a previous survey, conducted in March 2020, the Croatian National Bank (HNB) said on Friday.

The fourth public opinion poll on the adoption of the euro was carried out for the HNB by the Ipsos agency from 23 February 2021 to 1 March 2021.

Nineteen percent of citizens are against the adoption of the euro, while 26% are either against or in favour depending on other factors, and 10% of the respondents do not know, the HNB said.

Also, they said, an increasing number of citizens think that the effect of the euro will be positive. Some of the advantages they see include easier payment and business, as well as the fact that the euro is the common currency in the euro area, which would make Croatia equal to other members of the monetary union.

On the other hand, they see a decline in the standard of living and purchasing power as the main risk, and over a third of citizens think that the adoption of the euro will further increase prices.

To date, the poll has been carried out four times: in August 2018, in February 2019, in March 2020 and in February 2021. The survey is conducted on a nationally representative sample of 1,000 respondents, aged 18 to 79, using computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI), and it covers four thematic units: the use of the euro in the Republic of Croatia by foreign citizens, how informed citizens are on the adoption of the euro, citizens' attitudes to the adoption of the euro and their expectations.

The aim of the survey is to determine whether Croatian citizens support the strategic commitment of the government and the HNB to adopting the euro as the official currency in Croatia and whether they are aware of all the benefits that the adoption of the euro will bring to them and the national economy.

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

Saturday, 14 November 2020

PHOTOS: Around Zagreb Dolac Market with a Michelin-starred Chef

ZAGREB November 14, 2020 - Autumn's wild colours are exploding at Zagreb Dolac market, the largest outdoor tržnica in Croatia. Who better to guide us on our photo tour of this iconic institution than Bruno Vokal, head chef at Noel, Zagreb's only Michelin-starred restaurant?

_III4230.jpegBruno Vokal © Šime Lugarov, used by kind permission of Šime Lugarov and Varionica Craft Brewery

My name is Bruno Vokal and I'm from Zagreb. I trained to be a chef here. I spent three years at the culinary school in Novi Zagreb and I started to work straight afterward. Both of my grandmothers were chefs and my mother was a pastry chef. I worked first here in Zagreb, then on the Croatian coast, then in Austria. I came to work at Noel for the first time in 2017, as a sous chef. After a year, I wanted to progress. I went to work in a restaurant called 360 in Dubrovnik and at the three-Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester Hotel in London. I've been back at Noel as head chef for six months now.

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It is my responsibility to every day maintain the standard of the food here so that the restaurant retains its Michelin star or attains a higher recognition. More important to me is the concept. I am constantly asking what kind of lifestyle do people want to live.

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Of everywhere I previously cooked, the place that had the most impact was Alain Ducasse in London. There, it was classical French cooking, but with so much style. It was style based on taste. It wasn't so important how the plate looked. It was all-natural cooking, from the ingredients to the way it looked on the plate. It had the biggest impact on me. It defined for me many things that I had already been thinking about.

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Every day I go to the market with my sous chef, Antonio. Sometimes it's Zagreb Dolac market, sometimes it's Kvatrić. It depends what we're looking for. Zagreb Dolac market is much bigger, with a much bigger offer. I'm not directly orientated to any specific ingredients, I'm oriented to seasons. When I see seasonal produce, that's when I get my ideas. Every new dish, every statement I make, it all comes from following the seasons, its produce and asking myself what the people want to eat.

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Today at the market I found chestnuts and cep mushrooms (Boletus edulis) which both ended up on the menu. I was inspired to make a dessert using mushrooms, hazelnuts and chocolate. I found some great langoustines (scampi) and I made a pasta dish using those and a cappuccino made from the shells. If you see a good ingredient, use it, make the dish. It's like this always. There is never anything on the menu that is out of season.

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At this time of year, I particularly like seeing on Zagreb Dolac market things like pumpkin, chestnuts, kale, beetroot, all kinds of radishes - white, black, red. With the radish, I made a dish with cuttlefish, kale, a preserved sea fennel that we preserved when it was young and a pesto of pistachios. Also in the dish was a meat essence and a ravioli using limes. When you put it in your mouth it had a kind of taste like bean salad, ha! I wanted to make something with a lot of vegetables. Usually, people just make one on the side. Here, there were five, all cooked individually, but designed to be eaten in the same mouthful. This is the kind of cooking I'm really proud of.

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We have several ingredients here in Croatia that are quite unique. Of course, Croatian truffles. Also, many different cheeses. We have one which is a mixture of cottage cheese and fresh cream (sir i vrhnje), which I like to use. It has to be homemade, you cannot buy it from a regular store because the taste will be lost. We have a national dish called štrukli. How do I make the one at Noel? I make small pasta buttons and fill them with cheese, so there is the perfect balance of cheese and pastry in the bite. We reduce fresh cream so that we get a naturally intense sweetness and we make a milk powder, which we caramelise, that gives the taste of the browned top of a štrukli cooked in the oven. We serve it with chips of dried milk, which give a crunchy texture and finish with a sauce.

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Winter is the next season. I can't say yet what will be on the menu, but we will begin our preparations now. We will preserve some of autumn's food, like cabbage, salt meat, start making sausages. Winter for me means maybe less vegetables and more carbohydrates than autumn. We will rely on pastries like mlinci and pasta.

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This time for me is one of the best of the year for food from Zagreb Dolac market. From the end of the summer to the start of winter is the harvest time. Earlier, you get cucumbers, then all kinds of paprika, aubergine, all of which can be preserved. Right now we have amazing onions and pumpkins. With pumpkin, I recently made a tart, a dessert. It had three different kinds of pumpkin served on the side. At this time of year, you can get a wide variety of mushrooms, but the supply can be small and irregular. You can't rely on it. Today I saw black trumpets on Zagreb Dolac market, but the seller only had two boxes. That's not enough for the restaurant, maybe five portions. That's more something I'd buy to enjoy at home or to feed the staff here in the kitchen.

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When I go to the market, of course, I have my favourite sellers who I go to see every time. This relationship is key. It can only happen with time. I make requests, we talk about the produce. They see more of me, we talk more. It's a very important bond to build, especially if you're going to get to the stage where they will maybe change their growing habits the next season in order to satisfy what you want. You need that trust because sometimes you're thinking about a specific item on the menu one week in advance. Sometimes, it's one year in advance. If I convince a grower to plant salsify for me and then I am next year the only guy with salsify, I am a happy chef. This is not only a relationship between a head chef and a supplier, everyone should do this when they go to Zagreb Dolac market or any market in Croatia. You will get your food at the best price and you will get the best produce. But, it's not the kind of thing you can do over only one or two weeks. It takes time. I'm at the market every day. Some days I might only buy two things, but I'm there.

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It's not only vegetables that I buy from Zagreb Dolac market. Some of the best meat suppliers can also be found there. I have a butcher on Kvatrić who I use all the time. I buy pork from him - pork shoulder to make a terrine. He's been there a long time. He has two shops and very good produce. We talk a lot. I get beef from him to make tartare. I know the calves he has are really good. Some of the best ones come from Slavonia. Others come from the islands. The meat available from the different kinds of cows we have in Croatia is also dependent on the season. I take bones and ribs from him for my stocks. Stocks are very important in a restaurant like ours. For these bones, he charges me nothing. I always start with veal stock. It's mild. If I make a duck stock, I start with the carcass and build it up using the veal stock. I start all my other stocks using veal stock, so I have to make quite a lot of it. All stocks taste better when you begin with this base. The veal stock is the only one that begins using fresh water.

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For seafood, I have a main supplier from Rijeka, then others who are on call. They are from all over the coast and the islands. Sometimes, though, I see something at the market and just take it, like I did with the langoustines. For wild meats, I buy directly from hunters. Again, it's very seasonal. They go hunting over a large area. Sometimes they bring me hare, deer, wild duck or boar. Other times I buy deer from the island of Cres. They are small and have very mild meat, not game-y at all. It suits the palette of the clientele here in Zagreb.

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On these links you can check out the other features in our Around Zagreb series:

AROUND ZAGREB VIDEO: Zagreb to Zagorje in a Yugo Car

Around Zagreb: Meet Zagreb Statues, Dressed for Tie Day

Around Zagreb Mirogoj Cemetery on All Saints

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All photos © Marc Rowlands unless otherwise accredited

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Croatian Hoteliers' Revenues Dropping 25-75%, Recovery Expected in 2 or More Years

ZAGREB, Oct 7, 2020 - Croatian hoteliers expect this year's revenues to drop 25-75% due to the COVID pandemic and half believe recovery will take two or more years, with holiday tourism expected to recover faster and convention tourism much slower, a director in the Horwath HTL consulting company says.

Such findings come from the company's analysis of the so-called COVID year in which the pandemic has affected every industry around the world, notably tourism.

Sinisa Topalovic says the forecasts for 2021 and the growth of the global GDP are somewhat encouraging, but that recovery by country will depend and be faster if they are industrially strong, while being harder and slower in those focused on services such as Croatia.

Global and country forecasts say consumption is expected to recover in 12 to 24 months, which is a very long time, notably in tourism, which has been globally affected by the pandemic, from air travel to the hotel industry, which are recording drops in revenues from 60% to 80%, and they will not recover soon, says Topalovic.

Croatia at EU's bottom in hotel occupancy but near the top in prices

In such circumstances, Croatia managed to generate above-average results when compared with the competition in the first eight months of the year, about 40% of last year's turnover, but next year could be at least 10 to 20 percentage points better, also thanks to this year's experience, according to a Horwath HTL analysis.

Croatia's average hotel occupancy rate in the first eight months of this year was 24%, ranking it at the bottom of the EU, but in terms of prices it ranks relatively high because during the short summer holiday season Croatian hoteliers managed to keep relatively good prices, which is good given that after being lowered due to the 2008-09 crisis, they took a long time to recover, says Topalovic.

Three markets saved the season

The analysis shows that only three markets, of the more than 70 from which tourists came to Croatia in the past, saved this year's season, generating up to 60% of the total turnover - Germany, Croatia, and Slovenia.

Croatian tourists "gave life to numerous destinations" and their arrivals and overnights registered the smallest decreases from the record year 2019, the analysis says.

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Tuesday, 8 September 2020

AD Plastik Wins Golden Key Award As Best Large Exporter

ZAGREB, Sept 8, 2020 - Plastic car parts manufacturer AD Plastik wins Golden Key Award as the best large exporter in 2019, IT firm Infobip is the best medium-sized exporter and Jadran-una has been honored as the best small company, it was announced at the 15th Croatian Exporters Convention on Tuesday.

Addressing the convention, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic congratulated the exporters, saying that commodity exports had been rising steadily for the past 10 years and their share in GDP had increased from 16.7% to 28.5%.

He said that only 15% of Croatian companies generated revenues on foreign markets, while they employed 51% of the active workforce. He added that these companies place over 60% of their investments in research and development, generating three-quarters of total profits and nearly four-fifths of total investment in research and development in Croatia.

Speaking of boosting the export-oriented industry, Plenkovic cited reindustrialization and strong support to enterprises in using smart and clean technologies, greater use of energy from renewable sources, and digital transformation.   

"That is the path to increasing competitiveness," the prime minister said, adding that the government's focus would be on developing sectors with great growth potential such as information and communication technologies, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, pure technologies, such as solar and hydrogen, and new technologies, including 3D printing, nanotechnology, and robotics.

He also pledged further investment in education, railways, and broadband internet infrastructure.

"Our ambition is to create 100,000 jobs over the next four years, that is before the end of our term," Plenkovic said.

He highlighted two objectives of importance for exporters - the adoption of the euro and entry into the Schengen area.

The backbone of the Croatian economy

The head of the Croatian Exporters Association, Darinko Bago, praised the government for how it was handling the crisis caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, citing the government's social sensitivity and efforts to preserve jobs and help the tourist industry.

"Exporters are the best that Croatia has, they are the backbone of the Croatian economy," Bago said, adding that exporters expected the government to continue to be socially sensitive, but also to intensify localization and regionalization.

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Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Croatia's Plum Production Falling, Imports Rising

ZAGREB, Aug 26, 2020 - Plums are increasingly in demand in the EU, however, Croatia's results in growing this fruit oscillate, as plum growing is often affected by weather conditions as it was this year, hence imported plums are dominating the market, an analysis by the Smarter consulting company said on Wednesday.

According to Smarter, which specializes in agriculture and food industry consulting, problems in the production of plums over the past few years have led to many large producers backing out of this business.

Croatia's plum production has recorded significant oscillations in recent years, Smarter underscored, supporting its claims with figures saying that in 2018, a record high 14,487 tonnes were produced whereas in 2014 just over 8,000 tonnes were produced.

This year due to poor weather conditions, the plum crop is expected to be quite bad, Smarter said and added that currently, the offer for plums is good however "the market is dominated by imported plums."

Smarter added that Serbia produces about 500,000 tonnes of plums annually and Bosnia and Herzegovina's plum crop is between 150,000- 200,000 tonnes. Romania too produces about 500,000 tonnes of plum annually and in 2018 its plum crop was a record high, 830,000 tonnes.

Data from the State Bureau of Statistics (DZS) indicate that back in 2008, Croatia produced 48,614 tonnes of plums with more than 32,000 being for its own needs through extensive cultivation while in 2019 production was only 9,403 tonnes," Smater's Miroslav Kuskunovic said.

According to official data, plums are cultivated on 4,500 hectares mostly in Slavonia and Baranja.

Last year 2,535 tonnes of fresh plums were imported with a value of €1.5 million while the country exported 845 tonnes for only €540,000.

Most imported plums came from Serbia (913 tonnes), Moldova (619 tonnes), North Macedonia (427 tonnes) while last year Croatia export 389 tonnes of plums and 57 tonnes of prunes.

At the same time, Croatia imported almost one thousand tonnes of prunes valued at €2 million, two-thirds of which were imported from Chile and Serbia.

Smarter underscored that European analyses indicate that the plum is one of the fruits with the most prospects for exporting in Europe and its market value in the EU exceeds €300 million.

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Friday, 8 May 2020

Market vs. Social Distance? Đurđevac says: Market With Social Distance!

May 8, 2020 - Markets are sources for many people when it comes to fresh vegetables, fruits, milk, cheese, and much more. So, how is the market in Đurđevac coping in the second week of reopening?

Visiting markets is a part of the weekly, maybe even daily routine for a large number of people. While many markets needed to close their gates due to measures, people were left not only without fresh food but maybe without the familiar faces of their favorite sellers.

The market in Đurđevac used to be open every Thursday, and as one of the locals said: "This must have been difficult for them during this period of the pandemic, especially because the beginning of spring brings many more customers that buy plants for their personal gardens."

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Joubert Loots visited the market in Đurđevac and told us information about every measure this market took. Besides the fact they had dedicated entry and exit points, the number of people inside was monitored - just like in every other store lately.

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Most of the stalls had sneeze guards installed for added safety so you can sanitize your hands on every corner.

Maybe one of the best indicators that people from Đurđevac were missing their market was a long queue outside the market area. 

 

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Although most people are still equipped with masks, gloves, and sellers with a partition between them and customers, life is slowly returning to normal.

Many thanks to Joubert for the submission. You can check out his portfolio of photography here.  

Are you a small business in Croatia, which has just reopened after the recent lockdown? TCN is happy to support local businesses promoting their stories. If you are interested, please send photos, your experience, and your website to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Small Business.

For the latest news on COVID-19 in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

 

Thursday, 8 February 2018

First Electronic Croatian Fish Market Opened!

Meet BuyFish Shop, the first electronic fish market in Croatia.

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