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Balkan Export Outlook

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 10:35 By Sanja Stamenkovic, Jefferson Institute

Globally, the Balkan countries' economy is not in bad shape, but still lags behind the Europe's average. All the Balkan countries have an open market economy, and belong to upper-middle income range, except Greece, which is in the high income group of countries. GDP per capita is often used as a measure of standard of living, but can fluctuate due to exchange rates of local currency to US$. GDP per capita is the noticeably higher in the EU than in the non-EU countries. Slovenia and Greece have GDP over 20,000 US$, Hungary and Croatia over 10,000 US$, Montenegro, Serbia, Romania, Macedonia and Bulgaria between 5,000 and 10,000 US$, and Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina less than 5,000 US$. 

Export value can differ due to the size of the economy of the country. Because of this, the export is often measured as a percent of country's GDP. According to the World Data Bank, export of good and services as a measure of percent of GDP has a steady growth in the Balkans. The financial crisis caused a set back in the 2009 economy, creating decline up to 10%.

Slovenia, Hungary and Bulgaria have the highest export coverage of the country's GDP - over 60%. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro all have export covering below 50%.

Greece has one of the highest GDP in the Balkans, so high that the export can't cover it. This is mostly because of the fact that the Greek economy mostly rely on tourism and service industry, rather that export.  

Intra-regional trade of the Balkans seems to be stable, and the Free Trade Agreement with the EU made EU depending on the Balkans for products like machinery, metals, car and textiles. The long-term outlook of the Balkan exports is actually not looking bad. Since the 2009 all the countries have recorded a positive growth of the export in relation to GDP. The impact of the EU membership for the countries in the integration process is yet to be seen. 

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