Economy of Serbia
|Currency||Serbian dinar (RSD)|
|GDP||$100.18 billion (2015, PPP)
$37.74 billion (2015, Nominal)
|GDP rank||84th (nominal) / 79th (PPP)|
|+3.5% (Q1 2016)|
GDP per capita
$5,267 (2015, Nominal)
GDP by sector
agriculture: 26.5% (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line
|2.9 million (2015 est.)|
Labour force by occupation
industry: 15.6% (2014 est.)
Average gross salary
|67,464 RSD monthly (April 2016)
$612 monthly (April 2016)
|49,249 RSD monthly (April 2016)
$447 monthly (April 2016)
|motor vehicle, base metals, furniture, food processing, machinery, chemicals, sugar, tires, clothes, pharmaceuticals|
| 68th (2015)
|Exports||$17.34 billion (2015)|
|motor vehicles ($2.054bn), electrical machines ($1.164bn), cereals ($0.786bn), fruit and vegetables ($0.748bn), and clothes ($0.629bn) (2014)|
Main export partners
| Italy $2.577bn
Bosnia and Herzegovina $1.319bn
Romania $0.829bn (2014)
|Imports||$21.01 billion (2015)|
|motor vehicles ($2.163bn), oil ($1.808bn), electrical machines ($0.813bn), natural gas ($0.807bn), medical products ($0.700bn)|
Main import partners
| Germany $2.468bn
Hungary $1.018bn (2014)
|$29.8 billion (From 2000-2013)|
Gross external debt
|$36.09 billion (31 December 2014 est.)|
|71.5% of GDP (April 2016 est.)|
|$1.4 bn (2015)
3.7% of GDP
|Revenues||$14.91 bn (2015 est.)|
|Expenses||$16.40 bn (2015 est.)|
|Economic aid||$3.49 billion of EU IPA funding (2001–2014)|
|$11.68 billion (December 2015)|
|Economy of Serbia|
Economy of Serbia is the 84th or 79th largest in the world at $43.866 billion or $95.492 billion by nominal gross domestic product or purchasing power parity respectively. Its economy is mostly based on various services (51.1% of GDP), industry (38.5% of GDP) and agriculture (10.4% of GDP). In the late 1980s, at the beginning of the process of economic transition from a planned economy to a market economy, Serbia's economy had a favorable position, but it was gravely impacted by economic sanctions from 1992 to 1995.
After the ousting of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević in October 2000, the country went through an economic liberalization process, and experienced fast economic growth. GDP per capita (nominal) went from $1,241 in 2000 to $6,123 in 2014. Furthermore, it became a candidate for the European Union in March 2012. The European Union is Serbia's most important trading partner. After years of economy decline due to world financial crisis, in 2011, the economy GDP growth was 2%. Serbia entered a second recession in 2012, causing GDP to decline 1.5% for that year. In 2013, Serbia was among the top ten of European countries in regard to GDP growth, which amounted to 2.6% year on year. As of 2016 estimations, the unemployment rate was at 19.3%. Estimated GDP (nominal) for 2016 calendar year is $43.866 billion, which is $6,123 per capita, while the estimated GDP (PPP) is $100.18 billion, which is $14,047 per capita. Since the 1990s, Serbia has experienced a serious "brain drain", especially during the wars at that time; each year, more than 32,000 people emigrate. Despite the loss, the Serbian diaspora's transfers account between 10% and 15% of Serbia's GDP and significantly increase living standards in some parts of the country.
In recent years, Serbia has seen an increasingly swift foreign direct investment trend, including auto industry (Fiat), metal processing (US Steel), building materials (Lafarge), food and beverages (Carlsberg, Coca Cola, and Nestle), textiles (Golden Lady, Pompea), leather (Progetti Company, Falc East), and ICT (Microsoft and Siemens). By countries, most cash investments in the 2000–2012 period came from Italy ($2.69 billion), Austria ($2.65 billion), Norway ($2.16 billion), Belgium ($2.00 billion) and Greece ($1.66 billion), while other major investor countries also include United States, Russia, and Germany. The actual amount of investments from countries such as the United States and Israel is significantly higher than the official figure due to their companies investing primarily through European affiliates.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Transport in Serbia
- 3 Agriculture in Serbia
- 4 Tourism in Serbia
- 5 Energy in Serbia
- 6 Telecommunications in Serbia
- 7 National statistics
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
The average growth of Serbia's GDP in the last ten years was 2.45% per year. GDP structure by sector in 2015 was: services 51.1%, industry 38.5%, agriculture 10.4%. GDP structure by components in 2015 was: private consumption 81.0%, public consumption 17.9%, fixed capital investments 17.8%, inventories investments -10.1%, exports 46.0%, imports -52.6%.
The following table shows the GDP flow since 2000:
|Year||GDP (USD bn)||GDP growth rate||GDP per capita
|GDP per capita
Serbia's primary industries include processing of motor vehicles, base metals, furniture, food processing, machinery, chemicals, sugar, tires, clothes and pharmaceuticals. The main export products of Serbia in 2013 were: motor vehicles ($2.18bn), electrical machines ($1.12bn), fruit and vegetables ($0.67bn), cereals ($0.66bn) and non-ferrous metals ($0.65bn). The main Serbian agriculture products are wheat, maize, sunflower, sugar beets, fruits (raspberries, apples, sour cherries), vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes), beef, pork, and meat products, milk and dairy products, grapes/wine. Agriculture accounts for 8.2% of Serbia's GDP and almost one fourth of the country's total exports, with around 23.9% of the population working in the industry. The average growth of Serbian industry total from 2000 to 2013 was 1.51% per year.
|Industrial production growth rate|
|Mining and quarrying||28.8||-21.1||14.4||-0.8||-1.5||2.8||1.4||-4.1||4.2||-7.9||18.1||-3.4||-12.6||7.5|
|Electricity, gas and water supply||8.7||-0.9||-2.9||4.0||-2.4||6.7||-4.4||0.6||-1.0||-1.2||-4.9||14.2||-16.8||15.2|
The Serbian Ministry of Finance performs tasks related to the state budget, public revenue, public spending and public debt in the country. Serbia's public debt relative to GDP from 2000 to 2008 decreased by 140.1 percentage points, and then started increasing again as the government was fighting effects of world-wide 2008 financial crisis.
|Debt (Billion EUR)||14.17||13.43||11.53||11.02||9.68||10.28||9.35||8,88||8.78||9.85||12.16||14.78||17.72||20.14||22.76||24.81|
|Debt (Percent of GDP)||201.2%||97.7%||68.3%||61.7%||52.6%||50.2%||35.9%||29.9%||28.3%||32.8%||41.8%||45.4%||56.2%||59.6%||70.4%||76.0%|
|Source: Ministry of Finance of Serbia|
The National Bank of Serbia is the central bank of Serbia and as such its main responsibilities are the protection of price stability, the dinar exchange rate policy, management of the foreign currency reserves and maintenance of efficient payment and financial systems. Serbian foreign exchange reserves were highly augmented from 2000 to 2007, when they amounted 10.86 billion euros. As of 2013, Serbia's budget deficit is 4.88% and the public debt is 63.8% of GDP.
|Foreign exchange reserves|
|National bank (Billion EUR)||0.55||1.32||2,19||2.84||3.10||4.92||9.02||9.63||8.16||10.60||10.00||12.06||10.91||11.19|
|Domestic banks (Billion EUR)||0.39||0.72||0.68||0.67||0.59||0.55||0.52||1.22||0.92||1.42||1.68||0.80||1.06||0.91|
|Total (Billion EUR)||0.95||2.05||2.86||3.50||3.70||5.47||9.54||10.86||9.08||12.03||11.69||12.87||11.97||12.10|
|Source: National Bank of Serbia|
Serbia signed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU enabling exports of all products originating from Serbia without customs and other fees. For a limited number of products (baby beef, sugar, and wine), annual import quotas remain in effect. As of 2013, the EU countries were the largest partners of Serbia in terms of export with the value of $8.810 billion (60.30%) and in terms of import with the value of $13.348 billion (64.99%) of Serbia. The value of bilateral trade between Serbia and the EU largest economy Germany reached a total of $3.73 billion in 2013, a historical record for the two nations.
Serbia signed the CEFTA enabling exports of all products originating from Serbia without customs and other fees in the region: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro and UNMIK-Kosovo. In 2014, the CEFTA countries were the second largest trading partners of Serbia with sufficiency of $1.895 billion.
Serbia FTA with Russia was implemented since 2000, with further liberalizations in 2009 and 2011. For a limited number of products, annual import quotas remain in effect. The list of products, excluded from the Free Trade Agreement with Russia, is revised annually. The CIS countries (Russia is a participating country of CIS) are also large trading partners of Serbia.
Serbia signed a FTA with EFTA members in December 2009. With Switzerland and Liechtenstein it is active as of 2010 and with Norway and Iceland as of 2011. FTA with Turkey was signed in 2009, but took effect in May 2010. Trade with the U.S. is pursued under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). U.S. trade benefits provide for a preferential duty-free entry for app. 4,650 products.
|Exports (mil. USD):||2,074||2,756||3,523||4,480||6,431||8,823||10,974||8,345||9,794||11,780||11,353||14,614||14,843||12,309|
|Imports (mil. USD):||5,614||7,477||10,755||10,461||13,174||19,165||24,332||15,808||16,471||19,862||19,014||20,543||20,650||16,601|
|Trade Balance (mil. USD):||-3,540||-4,721||-7,232||-5,981||-6,743||-10,342||-13,358||-7,463||-6,677||-8,082||-7,661||-5,929||-5,806||-4,292|
|Source: Statistical Office of Serbia
Foreign direct investments
Leading investor nations in Serbia as of 2013:
Serbia is open to foreign direct investment, and attracting FDI is set as a priority for the government of Serbia, which provides both financial and tax incentives to companies willing to invest. Serbia has a long history of international commerce, even under communism, and it once attracted a sizeable foreign company presence, mainly due to its access to Comecon, and Non-Aligned Movement markets. Today, leading investor nations in Serbia include: Italy ($2.69bn), Austria ($2.65bn), Norway ($2.16bn), Belgium ($2.00bn) and Greece ($1.66n). In a recent poll for investors, conducted by the German Chamber of Commerce, Serbia came on top as an investment destination in South-Eastern Europe, with 97% of companies being pleased with business conditions. A total of $1.52 billion of foreign direct investment was received in 2013.
|Foreign direct investments|
|Inward FDI (USD Billions)||0.054||0.177||0.546||1.511||1.077||1.579||5.663||4.389||3.407||2.729||1.549||3.018||2.629||1.518|
|Total per capita (USD)||7.2||23.6||72.8||202.0||144.3||212.2||764.0||594.6||461.5||372.8||212.5||415.8||365.2||211.9|
Inward FDI by Industries (2004–2013):
Blue-chip corporations making investments in Serbia include: US Steel, Philip Morris, Microsoft, Fiat, Coca-Cola, Lafarge, Siemens, Carlsberg and others. In the energy sector, Russian energy giants, Lukoil and Gazprom have made large investments. The banking sector has attracted investments from Banca Intesa (Italy), Crédit Agricole and Société Générale (France), HVB Bank (Germany), Erste Bank, Raiffeisen Zentralbank and Hypo Group Alpe Adria (Austria), Eurobank EFG, Piraeus Bank (Greece), and others. United States based Citibank, opened a representative office in Belgrade in December 2006. In the trade sector, biggest foreign investors are France's Intermarché, German Metro Cash and Carry, Greek Veropoulos, and Slovenian Mercator.
Although most investments in previous years came primarily from the EU, greater interest is being shown from countries like India and Russia. On September 25, 2007, the Government of Serbia and Indian firm Embassy Group signed a memorandum of understanding on information technology park construction. Embassy Group plans to build their first technological park in Europe at an area of 280ha in the town of Indjija near Belgrade. The five-year plan predicts building a business area of 250,000 square meters and employing around 25,000 people. This is planned as the largest Greenfield investment in Serbia, accounting for a minimum of $600 million. On December 24, 2008, presidents of Serbia and Russia, Boris Tadić and Dmitry Medvedev have signed oil and natural gas deal under which Gazprom's oil arm Gazprom Neft gets a 51% stake in state-owned Naftna Industrija Srbije for 400 million euros in cash and 550 million euros in investments. There are also several architectural projects in Belgrade with foreign investment.
The Serbian IT industry is rapidly growing and changing pace. Large investments by global tech companies like Samsung and Microsoft, typical of the last decade, are being eclipsed by a growing number of domestic startups which obtain funding from domestic and international investors. What brought companies like Microsoft in the first place was a large pool of talented engineers and mathematicians in a lower wage country and these major investments had by 2011 generated over €200 million in exports. However, home grown firms were still very small, in 2014, there was a total investment of just US$10 million in all new Serbian tech startups which was a huge rise from less than half a million in 2010. In just the first quarter of 2016, more than US$65 million has been raised by Serbian startups including US$45 million for Seven Bridges (a Bioinformatics firm) and US$14 million for Vast (a data analysis firm). Also in 2016, a Belgrade based website AskGamblers which is generating over €810,000 in revenue and €620,000 in profits was sold to Catena Media for €15 million, all 30 employees will continue to work as normal.
Some of the most successful startups have been Nordeus which was founded in Belgrade in 2010. Nordeus is the developer of Top Eleven Football Manager a game played by over 20 million people. Mikroelektronika was founded in 1997 is a successful microelectronics manufacturer with millions of euros in sales. The startup community is helped by a non profit organization called Startit which is an active community that acts as an incubator for new companies. Startit raised US$108,000 from its Kickstarter campaign in 2015, allowing it to expand its Belgrade center and build a second center in Inđija which was completed February 2016. The Serbian tech industry is not limited to Belgrade as several Novi Sad based companies have raised big money including Content Insights which raised €1.1 million and DryTools which recently raised €300,000 from South Central Ventures. Also in Novi Sad a company called Alter Ego Architects has developed a 3D Printed cellphone. Other exiting developments include an Agriculture Drone startup that uses drones for land surveying, TeleSkin an app which can identify and track skin cancer and there is an ongoing Kickstarter for Hexiwear a customizable smartwatch for developers. Progress in Serbian IT over the last six years has been tremendous with the fast growth only increasing as Serbia's many talented engineers, scientists and mathematicians break into this new industry where gross salaries average €2,000 per month (far more than the €600 national average).
|Source: National Bank of Serbia; Note: All data retrieved each year on December 31|
|1.||Naftna Industrija Srbije||Novi Sad||Petroleum||2,307||7,629|||
|2.||Elektroprivreda Srbije||Belgrade||Electric utility||1,917||31,569|||
|3.||Fiat Automobili Srbija||Kragujevac||Automotive||1,497||3,668|||
|6.||Srbijagas||Novi Sad||Natural gas||602||3,011|||
Transport in Serbia
Serbia, and in particular the valley of Morava is often described as "the crossroad between the East and the West". The valley is by far the easiest way of land travel from continental Europe to Greece and Asia Minor.
Roads in Serbia are the backbone of its transportation system and constitute important transit roads in Europe. They are categorized as: state highways, class I; state highways, class II; local roads; municipal roads. Total length of public roads in Serbia is 40,845 km, of which 5,525 km are state highways, class I (including 643 km of motorways and expressways); 11,540 km are state highways, class II, and 23,780 km are local roads.
Serbian Railways, company which operates all the rail services in the country, joined in 2010 to the Cargo 10, a joint venture with other railways in the region. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has given a series of four loans to Zeleznice Srbije to support modernisation.
Serbia has 3,819 kilometers of rail tracks, of which 1,279 are electrified and 283 kilometers are double-track railroad.
There are two cities in Serbia (excluding Kosovo) served by international airports with regular passenger traffic: Belgrade and Niš (Niš Constantine the Great Airport). Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, a hub of flagship carrier Air Serbia, served 4,638,577 million passengers in 2014, and with the growth of 30.9% it is the fastest growing major airport in Europe. There is also an airport in Kraljevo Morava Airport with all the facilities for being considered an international airport, but is yet waiting for regular flights. Air Serbia has recently been delivered an Airbus A330- 200 and is the largest passenger plane in the region.
A1/E75 motorway in Serbia
The Air Serbia Airbus A320-200
GFLIRT, Class 413, the newest electric multiple unit of Serbian Railways
Agriculture in Serbia
Agriculture in Serbia is still an important section of Serbian economy with an annual potential of EUR 12 billion in exports. The total area of agricultural land exceeds 6.12 million hectares. Agricultural production is most prominent in Northern Serbia on the fertile Pannonian Plain, and the southern lowlands adjacent to the Sava, Danube and Great Morava rivers.
Production Serbia is one of the largest provider of frozen fruit to the EU (largest to the French market, and 2nd largest to the German market). Serbia is world's second largest producer of plums (582,485 tons; second to China), second largest of raspberries (89,602 tons, second to Poland), it is also significant producer of maize (6.48 million tons, ranked 32nd in the world) and wheat (2.07 million tons, ranked 35th in the world).. The production of sugar beet (2299770 metric tons) and sunflower seeds (454282 metric tons) meets domestic demand for sugar and vegetable oil and permits export of some 180,000 tons of sugar to the European Union.
Wine There are nearly 70,000 hectares of vineyards in Serbia, producing about 425,000 tons of grapes annually, which position Serbia among the first 15 wine producing countries in the world. The majority of production is dedicated to local wineries.
Major varieties include the Belgrade Seedless, Prokupac, Sauvignon, "Italian Riesling", Cabernet, Chardonnay, White and Red Burgundy, Hamburg, Muscat, Afus Ali, Vranac, Tamjanka, Krstac, Smederevka, and Dinka.
Tourism in Serbia
Serbia stretches across two geographic and cultural regions of Europe: Central Europe and Southeast Europe. This boundary splits Serbia roughly in a ratio of 1:2 alongside the Danube and Sava rivers. The most famous mountain resorts are Kopaonik, Stara Planina, and Zlatibor. There are also many spas in Serbia, the biggest of which is Vrnjačka Banja, Soko Banja, and Banja Koviljača.There are several internationally popular music festivals held in Serbia, such as EXIT (with 25–30,000 foreign visitors coming from 60 different countries) and the Guča trumpet festival. The northern parts of the country are Central-European lowlands while the southern and central parts are mostly mountainous. There are more than 15 mountain peaks rising to over 2,000 metres above sea level. The navigable rivers are the Danube, Sava and Tisa. A moderate continental climate predominates, with a more Mediterranean climate in the south.
Nightlife Belgrade has a reputation for offering a vibrant nightlife, and many clubs that are open until dawn can be found throughout the city. The most recognizable nightlife features of Belgrade are the barges (сплавови, splavovi) spread along the banks of the Sava and Danube Rivers.
Tourism in Serbia employs some 75,000 people, about 4% of the country's workforce.
In 2013, total of 2,192,435 tourists visited Serbia. This was an increase of five percent compared to the last year, according to the Tourist Organization of Serbia (TOS).
New Belgrade at night
Kopaonik popular tourist destination
Petrovaradin fortress during the Exit festival
Energy in Serbia
Serbia has abundance of one natural fuel (coal) and relatively significant but not sufficient of the others (oil and gas). Serbia's proven reserves of 5.5 billion tons of coal lignite are 5th largest in the world (second in Europe, after Germany. Coal is found in two large deposits: Kolubara (4 billion tons of reserves) and Kostolac (1.5 billion tons) Despite being small on a world scale, Serbia's oil and gas resources (77.4 million tons of oil equivalent and 48.1 billion cubic meters, respectively) have a certain regional importance since they are largest in the region of former Yugoslavia as well as the Balkans (excluding Romania) Almost 90% of the discovered oil and gas are to be found in Banat and those oil and gas fields are by size among the largest in the Pannonian basin but the average on a European scale.The current oil production in Serbia amounts to over 1.1 million tons of oil equivalen,and satisfies some 43% of country's needs while the rest is imported.
Electricity The main producer of electricity in Serbia is Elektroprivreda Srbije. The company has an installed capacity of 8,359 MW and generates 38.9 TWh of electricity per year. Its installed capacity in lignite-fired thermal power plant is 5,171 MW, gas-fired and liquid fuel-fired combined heat and power plants is 353 MW, and hydro power plants is 2,835 MW. EPS is also the largest producer of lignite in Serbia operating in the Kolubara and Kostolac basins, producing around 37 million tonnes per year.
Oil and Natural Gas Naftna Industrija Srbije is the only company in Serbia which deals with exploration and production of crude oil and gas, as well as with production of geothermal energy. The company disposes with all necessary equipment for the performance of a whole range of complex activities such as geophysical exploration, control of production of crude oil, gas and geothermal energy. The majority of NIS oil fields are located on the territory of Serbia, in the province of Vojvodina, but upstream has business operations both in Serbia and abroad. In 2011 NIS started to expand business in south-east Europe: in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania and Hungary.
Srbijagas, public gas company, operates the natural gas transportation system which comprise 3,177 kilometers of trunk and regional natural gas pipelines and a 450 million cubic meter underground gas storage facility at Banatski Dvor. Major European transit gas pipeline, South Stream pipeline, will pass through Serbia in length of 422 kilometers and will have capacity of 40.5 billion cubic meters. Start of the construction of Serbian portion of the pipeline is scheduled for the end of 2013 and will be financed with $2.6 billion by the Russian energy giant Gazprom.
Renewable Energy is increasingly being used in Serbia. Installed capacity of Wind power is 20 MW (currently being expanded to produce a total of 320 MW), and hydro power plants is 2,835 MW. Serbia also makes use of geothermal and solar energy, currently 40.6% of Serbia's electricity comes from hydro while 0.2% comes from other renewable. In June 2013 the Serbian government announced an action plan to meet 27 per cent of gross final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.
Telecommunications in Serbia
Fixed telephone lines have 89% of households in Serbia, and with about 9.8 million users the number of cellphones surpasses the number of total population of Serbia itself by 35%. The largest cellphone provider is Telekom Srbija with 5.65 million subscribers, followed by Telenor with 3.1 million users and Vip mobile with just over 1 million. 59.9% of households have computers and 55.8% have internet connection (43.4% have a broadband connection). Some 58% of households have cable TV, which is one of the highest rates in Europe. Digital television transition is set to be completed on June 17, 2015.
- External debt (2013)
- Public sector: $16.78 bn
- Private sector: $10.86 bn
- Total: $27.64bn
- Energy (2014 est.)
Electricity - production: 34.4 billion kWh
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuels: 59.2%
hydroelectric plants: 40.6%
nuclear fuels: 0% (2013 est.)
other renewable sources: 0.2%
Electricity - consumption: 26.91 billion kWh
Electricity - exports: 4.806 billion kWh
Electricity - imports: 6.864 billion kWh
Crude oil - production: 16,840 barrels per day (2,677 m3/d)
Oil - exports: 0 barrels per day (0 m3/d)
Oil -imports: 31,730 barrels per day (5,045 m3/d)
Oil - proved reserves: 77.5 million barrels (12.32×106 m3) (1 January 2015 est.)
Refined Petroleum products - production: 61,590 barrels per day (9,792 m3/d)
Refined Petroleum products - consumption: 67,980 barrels per day (10,808 m3/d)
Refined Petroleum products - exports: 12,050 barrels per day (1,916 m3/d)
Refined Petroleum products - imports: 20,080 barrels per day (3,192 m3/d)
Natural gas - production: 562.2 million cubic meters
Natural gas - consumption: 2.43 billion cubic meters
Natural gas - exports: 0 cubic meters (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 1.629 billion cubic meters
Natural gas - proved reserves: 48.14 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 46 million Mt (2014 est.)
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