Montenegro Country Report - December, 2013

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Montenegro Country Report - December, 2013

This report covers the main macroeconomic releases from early December 2013 until January 3, 2014 as well as the financial and political events that took place in Montenegro during this period. It also includes corporate news for companies including aluminum firm KAP, as well as Skoda Praha, Powerchina’s Hubei Electric Power Survey & Design Institute, a Slovak consortium (Istroenergo Group Slovakia-SES Tlmace), and China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC).

GDP grew by a real 4.0% year on year in July-September, accelerating from a 3.4% real growth in the second quarter of the year and a 1.1% GDP expansion in the first quarter. CPI recorded zero annual growth in November after edging up 0.5% year on year the month before as rising alcoholic beverages and housing charges were offset by falling food and transport costs. The unemployment rate fell to 17.6% in Q3 from 19.2% in Q2 and 18.8% a year ago, likely reflecting favourable seasonal factors.

Parliament approved the draft budget for 2014 late on December 27, targeting a lower deficit of EUR 71mn, equivalent to 1.99% of GDP. In 2013 the government expects the budget gap to reach EUR 151.9mn, equalling 4.6% of the full-year GDP forecast and significantly exceeding the official target of EUR 93mn (2.73% of GDP) due to higher-than-expected expenditures related to the aluminium smelter KAP.

Key Points:

• In corporate news, on December 6 Montenegro launched the tender for the sale of bankrupt aluminum firm KAP’s assets—a move anticipated ever since the company entered into insolvency in July—without setting a minimum price.

• Montenegro’s state controlled electricity firm EPCG has shortlisted four companies—including Skoda Praha, Powerchina’s Hubei Electric Power Survey & Design Institute, a Slovak consortium (Istroenergo Group Slovakia-SES Tlmace), and China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC)—in the tender for a construction of a second unit of 220-300MW at its sole thermal power plant TE Pljevlja, electricity firm EPCG said on Dec 16.

• November’s industrial production growth strengthened to 21.4% year on year from 10.5% year on year the month before, on the back of rising manufacturing and utilities output which offset a decline in mining and quarrying.

• The current account gap shrank 29.1% year on year to EUR 231.7mn in January–September, due to narrowing foreign trade deficit and rising net income from abroad.

• Net FDI inflow to Montenegro dropped 25.7% year on year to EUR 255.9mn in January-October, deteriorating from a 14.8% year on year contraction as of end-September, due to lower equity investments.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
1. Macroeconomic Overview
1.1.1 World Bank cuts SEE6 2014 growth outlook to 1.8% on uncertain export prospects and subdued demand
1.1.2 IMF mission pays two-day visit to Montenegro, focusing on Bar-Boljare motorway project

2. Real Sector
2.1 GDP
2.1.1 Montenegro’s GDP growth quickens to 4% y/y in Q3'13

2.2 Inflation
2.2.1 Montenegro's consumer prices stay flat y/y in Nov 2013
2.2.2 Montenegro's EU-harmonised inflation flat y/y in Nov 2013
2.2.3 Montenegro's PPI declines 1.1% y/y in November 2013

2.3 Industry and Trade
2.3.1 Montenegro's industrial output rises 21.4% y/y in Nov 2013
2.3.2 Montenegro's retail sales growth strengthens to 15.4% y/y in Oct 2013

2.4 Labour market
2.4.1 Montenegro's unemployment rate drops to 17.6% in Q3 2013 – labour force survey
2.4.2 Montenegro's average net wage inches up 0.2% y/y to EUR 479 in Nov 2013

2.5 Tourism
2.5.1 Montenegro’s Jan-Sep tourism revenue up 3% to EUR 643mn on higher arrivals
2.5.2 Foreign tourists arrivals to Montenegro rise 7% y/y to 15,324 in Nov 2013

3. Fiscal Sector
3.1 Montenegrin parliament approves 2014 budget bill with lower deficit of 2%/GDP
3.2 Montenegro’s expects 2013 budget gap of 4.6% of GDP, higher than planned
3.3 Montenegrin govt goes ahead with selling EUR 80mn Eurobond, signing EUR 20mn bank loans
3.4 Montenegro auctions EUR 5mn of 182-day T-bills, rates drop

4. Financial Intermediation
4.1 Share of non-performing loans in Montenegro edges down to 17.7% in Oct 2013 – c-bank
4.2 Montenegro’s bank assets increase 5.4% y/y to EUR 3bn at end-Nov 2013
4.3 Montenegro’s bank deposits increase 5.1% y/y to EUR 2.1bn at end-Nov 2013
4.4 Istanbul Stock Exchange buys 24% of Montenegrin peer for EUR 450,000

5. External Sector
5.1 Montenegro's 9-mo current account gap narrows 29% y/y to EUR 232mn
5.2 Montenegro’s net FDI shrinks 26% y/y to EUR 256mn in Jan-Oct 2013
5.3 Jan-Sep remittances inflow into Montenegro increases 2% y/y, reaching 7.8% of GDP
5.4 Montenegro’s 11-mo trade gap shrinks 4.7% y/y to EUR 1.3bn

6. Structural Reforms And Corporate News
6.1 Montenegro launches sale of bankrupt aluminium firm KAP’s assets without setting minimum price
6.2 Montenegrin MPs approve again controversial bill giving parliament final say on KAP's fate
6.3 Montenegro shortlists four companies in tender for 220-300MW thermal power unit

7. Political
7.1 EU, Montenegro open key chapters on judiciary and justice in accession talks

Number of pages: 26
Release Date: Tue, 07 Jan 2014