Central and eastern Europe must get rid of its “addiction to foreign currency debt” by improving macroeconomic management, building local currency markets and tightening regulation, says the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in a hard hitting report published today. Read more in this article in Financial Times or download an executive summary of the report below:
EBRD and Raiffeisen International (RI) have teamed up to help strengthen the Raiffeisen subsidiary banks in the Ukraine, Romania and Russia. EBRD has approved a 150 million euro package for these subsidiaries, complementing RZB’s own continued provision of capital and funding. Read more here.
In July, the British financial magazine Euromoney held its annual “Award for Excellence” ceremony in London. RZB, together with Raiffeisen International (RI), received the “Best Bank in Central and Eastern Europe” award for the 5th year in a row. Read more here.
The two Austrian banks Raiffeisen and Bank Austria have both published their end 2009 outlook on the developments in CEE. Generally it seems that Raiffeisen has a somewhat more optimistic view on the growth than their colleagues.
First the Raiffeisen report, that starts on the following tune:
Positive Growth Rates in Eastern Europe In September, Raiffeisen Research presented the latest market trends for Eastern Europe. Positive quarter-on-quarter growth rates can be observed in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, countries less affected by the financial crisis. Read more about increasing possibilities and possible risks here.
Bank Austria start their Q4 report by saying:
Emerging Europe: Relief, not euphoria On the back of the healthier than anticipated rebound in global growth we have marginally raised our broad CEE17 growth forecast to 1.4% (by 0.3pp) in 2010. The modest size of the revision signals that we feel more confident about the economic recovery in EME, but certainly not euphoric, as headwinds at both the global and local level will limit the pace of recovery going forward. Their report can be downloaded here.
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Sun, September 13, 2009 22:30:41 Raiffeisen International Bank Holding AG's chief executive, Herbert Stepic, said the rate of growth in nonperforming loans is slowing in the Austrian bank's core Central and Eastern European markets, a sign the region may be seeing an economic turnaround. Raiffeisen is something of a proxy for the health of the region's financial sector, with business in 17 markets. After months of teetering on the brink of financial collapse, Central and Eastern European economies are slowly getting their financial footing as government stimulus packages breathe life ... (Wall Street Journal, Sept 12). Read the whole article here.
The European Union risks losing credibility and contributing to political instability in the Balkans unless it draws the region's states closer to their goal of EU membership, Carl Bildt, Sweden's foreign minister, said yesterday.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Bildt, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, warned that nationalists in the region might gain strength at the expense of pro-European political forces in several former Yugoslav states if the prospect of joining the EU were to fade. Read the whole interview here.
This interesting report and outlook just arrived today from UniCredit, Austria:
We revised further downward our 2009 GDP forecasts during 2Q, but significantly improved our current account outlook. To the extent that the CEE rebalancing process is proceeding faster than expected, changes to our 2010 forecasts in 2Q were limited. We now forecast full-year 2009 CEE17 GDP to contract 5.8% (from a previous 3.5%) and for the regional current account balance – ex Kazakhstan and Russia – to improve to 2.8%.
Following a tough 1H09, we see 3Q09 proving relatively benign for CEE. The sharpest period of rebalancing is behind us, European Central Bank (ECB) policy is set to remain accommodative and regional financial stability risks will only likely crystallize in the medium term (e.g. 2010). This should prove relatively foreign exchange (FX) and sovereign credit friendly in the near term.
A combination of slow burning second round risks from 1Q09's growth crunch and a likely challenging longer-term global backdrop means near-term stabilization could to some extent mark a false dawn. From this perspective, 2H09 marks a window of opportunity for regional policymakers to put in place realistic medium-term fiscal plans, issue debt and bolster FX reserves. Countries which do are likely to see the most positive sovereign credit ratings newsflow. To download the full report click on the picture below:
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Tue, July 14, 2009 08:44:04 Turkey and four European Union countries have signed an agreement to construct a long-planned 3,300-kilometer (2,000 miles) Nabucco pipeline to reduce Europe's reliance on Russian gas. The prime ministers of Turkey, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary signed the deal in Ankara on Monday to allow the Nabucco pipeline to cross their countries. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the deal was a "historic moment."
The pipeline is expected to pump as much as 31 billion cubic meters from the Caspian Sea to Austria via Turkey and the Balkans, bypassing Russia, in what is seen as a bid by the EU to wean itself off its dependency on Moscow's supplies. (Deutsche Welle July 13)
Samtidigt som Ikea skär ned på andra håll överväger möbeljätten att investera flera miljarder kronor i nya varuhus på Balkan. Det uppger, enligt Dagens Nyheter, Per Kaufmann, som är chef för Ikeas verksamhet i Östeuropa. Den planerade expansionen i Kroatien, Serbien och Slovenien är dock beroende av den ekonomiska utvecklingen i Balkanländerna. Sammanlagt planeras minst sex varuhus i regionen. Ikea håller också för möjligt att expandera i Albanien.
Internationella Valutafonden, IMF, diskuterar stödprogram med till åtminstone tio regeringar i Östeuropa. Det skriver Handelsblatt och hänvisar till en icke namngiven IMF-källa, rapporterar Bloomberg News. IMF ska så snart som möjligt bestämma sig om låneförfrågningarna och en majoritet av IMF-ledningen sägs stödja hjälpen.
Bland de länder som sägs fråga om lån för första gången finns Bulgarien, Kroatien och Makedonien, enligt Handelsblatt. Ukraina, Serbien, Rumänien, Vitryssland och Lettland sägs vilja snabba på utbetalningen eller öka omfattningen av existerande IMF-lån.
IMF ska bestämma om lånen inom en vecka, förutom för det problematiska fallet Lettland, där det inte finns något hopp om ett snabbt beslut. (DI, 10 juli)
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Wed, July 08, 2009 08:16:39 Five central and eastern European countries were on Tuesday given more time to reduce their budget deficits, in a sign that the European Union for now considers the fight against recession a higher priority than fiscal consolidation. EU finance ministers set Hungary, Lithuania and Romania a target date of 2011 for cutting their deficits to below 3 per cent of gross domestic product. Latvia and Poland were set a target date of 2012. Read more here. (Financial Times, July 7)
As we earlier could reveal in this forum, there has been a change in management for Southeast Europe within the Swedish Trade Council. On July 1st Jan Kettnaker, who has been running the region from Bucharest up til now, moved to Johannesburg to take over the STC responsibility for South Africa and nearby countries. His successor is Helen Gustafsson, Kiev, which in fact means that Ukraina now is included in the “extended” Southeast Europe region of the Swedish Trade Council. Helen Gustafsson has spent most of her professional career working in and with Eastern Europe and we are very glad to welcome her within our region. Click here for a short CV of Helen as presented at the STC website.
A shortage of finance is leading to underinvestment in central and eastern Europe’s ageing energy infrastructure, says the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The London based lender said that raises the prospect of severe capacity constraints when growth returns to the region. (Financial Times June 17). Read more here.
Migration from eastern to western Europe is boosting the economy of the European Union by nearly €50bn ($65bn, £45bn) a year, or about 0.8 per cent of gross domestic product, according to a report sponsored by the European Commission published on Wednesday. Read more here.
As the amount of energy needed per unit of GDP in South East Europe is double that to the rest of Europe there has been recent incentives to provide growth in this most vital of marketplaces. Our SEE Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency conference is set to co-ordination between public authorities and international financial institutions in order to review and improve the current market situation. More to read here.