Serbia “doesn’t need all of IMF loan”

The balance of payment deficit in Serbia will be nine percent of the GDP this year, as opposed to 17.4 percent in 2008, daily Večernje Novosti writes.

The decrease in exports (23 percent less than last year), but also imports (decreasing by 31 percent), have enabled Serbia to now consider backing out of withdrawing some installments of the loan offered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“It is hard to predict how much money will be needed to be withdrawn from the IMF, but it is clear that the whole loan will not need to be taken,” National Bank of Serbia Governor Radovan Jelašić said.

According to the daily, Serbia will for the time being not take any steps towards changing its arrangement with the IMF. If the revision in October is successful, the second and third installments will be withdrawn, worth EUR 1.4bn. This money will be used to fill the foreign currency reserves.

Those reserves are now at about EUR 9.5bn, while savings in banks are once again about EUR 5bn.

The central bank has no reason to think about interventions in the foreign currency market, says the newspaper; while at the start of the year, euros were being sold every day to “calm” the exchange rate, the dinar has been stable for months now.

The estimates of business banks and economists are that the year will end with the euro being worth about RSD 97.5.

However, this does not mean that the state will pull back from the IMF’s offer – suddenly, Serbia was among the countries that were allowed by the IMF to take out money for filling the budget, that is, to spend on current state administration onbligations.

The Serbian government will work on adopting the law that will enable the budget to include EUR 500mn from the IMF meant for the budget uses, as soon as parliament begins work again.

Interest rates on this loan will be “symbolic”, writes the daily – less than 0.5 percent annually.

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