Economic and Foreign Trade Activity

According to the data for Q1 released by the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia (SORS), industrial production increased by 4.4% y-o-y, mainly on the back of higher production in manufacturing and mining. Manufacturing grew 6.1% y-o-y, with the growth registered in 17 out of 24 sectors and the key contributions coming from petroleum products, food, pharmaceutical products and electrical equipment.

March industrial production was almost unchanged from the same month a year earlier. Y-o-y growth was registered in manufacturing (2.7%) and mining (0.5%), while the energy sector recorded a y-o-y decline of 9.8%.

The COVID-19 pandemic began to reflect on activity in the service sectors in March. Тhis refers primarily to tourism where, according to SORS, tourist arrivals in March slumped by 56.0% and their overnights stays by 45.7% y-o-y. At the same time, the number of overnight stays of foreign tourists was down by 58.3% and of domestic by 37.2%. On the other hand, the pandemic seems to have affected trade less, as its real y-o-y growth slowed down to 4.4% in March.

In Q1 2020 commodity exports went up by 3.1% and imports by 7.7% y-o-y. Slowing exports reflect dampened external demand amid the global pandemic and disrupted production chains, while growing imports are mainly attributable to the import of equipment.

SORS also released data on formal employment in Q1 2020, which indicate a 1.8% y-o-y rise in the total number of employed persons. This is due to higher employment in the private sector. The key contributors to employment gains were manufacturing, construction, mining, information and communications, and transport.

Governor’s Office


National Bank of Serbia published this content on 01 May 2020 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 01 May 2020 08:38:00 UTC