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Macedonia registered GDP growth of 1.2% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to data from the State Statistical Office. The government promptly claimed that Macedonia is officially out the recession: “These results, combined with reduction of unemployment, show that Macedonia has generally managed to overcome the crisis with the lowest possible impact," Finance Minister Zoran Stavreski said at a press conference. Stavrevski said the government expects 2% GDP growth for 2010.

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Decreasing Risk

 

Macedonia’s Q4 GDP growth is good news. The government officially declared that the country was in recession in September 2009 after two consecutive quarters of negative growth. The new data shows the cabinet’s emergency anti-crisis measures appear to have produced short-term positive results. Macedonia achieved the third-best GDP growth in Europe, which will improve confidence among foreign investors and business analysts. However, it is too early for the country to claim that its economy has completely recovered: Unemployment is more than 32%, which hurts consumption. In addition, foreign direct investment was €180 million last year, half of the 2008 level. The ongoing turmoil in neighboring Greece puts a dent in demand for Macedonian exports. Hard times are far from over – recovery will continue throughout 2010.