Montenegro Country Report - April, 2016

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Montenegro Country Report - April, 2016

This report covers the key macroeconomic and financial releases as well as the political events from Montenegro for the period of April 6-May 5, 2016.
The European Commission lowered its 2016 economic growth forecast for Montenegro to 3.6%, as the economy is hampered by the weak recovery of bank lending. At the same time, the IMF expects that the country’s economy will post the highest growth, of 4.7%, among the countries in Emerging and Developing Europe this year. The World Bank made the most pessimistic forecast for a 3.3% growth.
Representatives of opposition parties in Montenegro signed a long-expected agreement with prime minister Milo Djukanovic's Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) on the entry of the opposition to the government on April 26. However, the parties also signed another document, pledging that they will not form coalitions with the DPS either before or after the general election this autumn.
Montenegro advanced eight positions on the 2016 Press Freedom Index from Reporters Without Borders (RSF), but still remained among the worst in South-East Europe, ranking 106th out of 180 countries.
Montenegro’s prosecution has reportedly initiated an investigation into several former and current managers of power monopoly EPCG over consultancy contracts signed with Italy’s A2A, which is one of the company’s main owners.
The Montenegrin company of Canadian businessman Peter Munk - Adriatic Marinas – has sold its stake in Porto Montenegro marina project to the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD).


Key points:

• The budget deficit shrank 19.3% y/y to €47.2mn in the first quarter of 2016
• The number of foreign tourists visiting Montenegro increased by 15.9% y/y to 21,850 in March
• Industrial output swung to a 2.9% annual growth in March, following three months of decline
• Bank assets rose 9.6% y/y to €3.441bn at end-March

Table of Contents

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 4
REAL SECTOR 5
1. GDP 5
EC lowers Montenegro’s 2016 GDP growth forecast to 3.6% on sluggish recovery of bank lending 5
Montenegro’s economy to have highest growth in emerging Europe in 2016, IMF says 5
World Bank forecasts 3.3% medium-term economic growth in Montenegro 5
2. Inflation 6
Montenegro’s HICP turns to 0.5% y/y deflation in March 6
Montenegro’s consumer prices turn to decrease in March 6
Montenegro's PPI stays flat y/y in March 7
3. Industry and Trade 7
Montenegro's retail sales grow by 1.2% y/y in March 7
Montenegro's industrial sales ease annual fall to 38.2% y/y in March 7
Montenegro’s industrial output turns to growth in March 8
4. Labour Market 8
Montenegro’s unemployment rate declines to 17.94% on May 4 8
Montenegro’s monthly average net wage grows 2.5% y/y in March 9
5. Tourism 9
Foreign tourist arrivals in Montenegro rise 15.9% y/y in March 9
FISCAL SECTOR 9
Montenegro’s Q1 budget gap contracts 19.3% y/y on rising income 9
Montenegro could sell concession on Bar-Boljare motorway to cut construction costs, finance minister says 10
Montenegro raises €13.4mn of 182-day T-bills issue, above target 10
Montenegro’s govt drafts plan for public debt settlement, finance minister says 11
FINANCIAL INTERMEDIATION 12
Montenegro’s bank deposits growth slows in March 12
Montenegro’s bank assets growth slows to 9.6% y/y in March 12
Average lending interest rate in Montenegro falls to 8.043% in March 12
Montenegro’s c-bank says financial system at moderate risk in 2015 13
EXTERNAL SECTOR 13
Montenegro’s Q1 trade gap widens 11.7% y/y 13
Montenegro posts net FDI outflow of €18.3mn through February 13
STRUCTURAL REFORMS AND CORPORATE NEWS 14
Adriatic Marinas sells stake in Porto Montenegro to Dubai’s ICD 14
Montenegro Airlines tops the list of biggest tax debtors in April 15
Montenegro to borrow €35mn from KfW for wastewater infrastructure project 15
Serbia’s AIK banka acquires 15% of Montenegro’s Budvanska Rivijera 15
Montenegro widens investigation at power monopoly EPCG 16
IFC to invest -mn in Montenegro, c-bank says 16
Montenegro’s economy committee gives green light to offshore oil, gas exploration deal 17
Montenegro reportedly investigates former EPCG management over consultancy contracts with A2A 17
Montenegro’s power monopoly to separate transmission unit by end-April 18
EU to invest €25mn in rule of law, human rights projects in Western Balkans and Turkey 18
Montenegro, Skoda Praha to ink deal on new TPP Pljevlja unit by end-April 18
POLITICS 19
Disagreements between Montenegro’s opposition parties delays vote on government changes 19
Montenegro’s parliament to debate opposition’s entry to government on May 4 20
Montenegro’s opposition sign deal to join government 21
Montenegrin parliamentary committee to interrogate anti-corruption head 22
Montenegrin opposition parties set to join government 23
Montenegro’s opposition parties start talks to distribute ministerial seats 23
Media freedom improves in Montenegro, but remains among the worst in SEE, RSF says 24
Nato’s foreign ministers to sign Montenegro’s accession protocol on May 19-20, Stoltenberg says 25
Montenegro’s parliament speaker reportedly seeks deputy PM position 25

Number of pages: 26
Release Date: Thu, 05 May 2016