Monday, November 26, 2007


In recent years, external indebtedness of Croatia has grown at the fastest pace in Europe. Croatia is, after Lebanon, the country most dependent on foreign loans. The business environment in Croatia has regionally low economic growth rates, high tax burden and inefficient administrative framework such as widespread corruption, weak property rights and extensive market regulation. The paper released by the IMF has shown how banking risks rise in Eastern Europe's case of rapid credit growth (link). On average, Croatia's economic growth between 2002 and 2006 was below 5 percent. In addition, external debt has reached 89 percent of the GDP. High government spending, exceeding 50 percent of the GDP and non-prudent fiscal policy contributed to structural risk of Croatia's economy. While expenditures and consumption-inflated indebtedness have been growing steadily, total factor productivity grew slightly by 1,2 percent. On the other hand, short-term debt increased by nearly 70 percent, from slightly below 4 percent of the GDP to way above 10 percent of the GDP. In a paper issued by the IMF, it is shown that external foreign debt liabilities of Croatia's banks are growing exponentially since 2004.

In such a turbulent picture, there is a significant amount of macroeconomic risk. In addition, there's an extensive availibility of literature and reading on the probability of macroeconomic crisis in Croatia. I suggest the website browsing of the Adriatic Institute, and a paper released by the IMF "Vunerabilities in Emerging South-Eastern Europe - How much Cause for Concern?". There're also few nice articles describing Croatia's macroeconomic prospects (here, here and here). Also, there is an article about Croatia in Washington Times (link).

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