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Britain's decision to leave the European Union has unleashed volatility on the global markets, and SEE is no exception. The full impacts of the vote are still impossible to predict but for once analysts seem unanimous that the balance would be negative for most of us. However, whereas EU members in the region are mostly concerned about the economic repercussions of a potential Brexit, for candidates to join the bloc the biggest fears are that it may thwart their accession plans.
Activity in the region has benefited from lower oil prices and the gradual recovery in the euro area, but elevated corporate debt is hindering private investment, according to the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook report. The World Bank, for its part, has commented that a notable revival of investment underpinned economic growth, particularly private investment - both foreign and domestic. Exports are also helping to fuel this growth. Improving productivity, however, remains pivotal for boosting growth in the region.
As Southeast Europe returns to steady economic growth, the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market in the region is picking up again and an increasing number of both local and foreign investors push ahead with expansion plans. In 2015 the value of M&A deals in Central and Southeast Europe (CSEE) rose 16.6% to 43.1 billion dollars ($38.4 billion), with IT and manufacturing as the most attractive sectors, according to recent date of global consultancy EY.
The eletricity market of Southeast Europe is heating up after earlier in 2016 day-ahead power exchanges were launched in Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia, opening up new opportunities for energy producers, consumers and traders. As a step towards achieving market coupling, in April the power transmission system operators, regulators and energy ministers of six countries in the Western Balkans signed a memorandum of understanding on the integration of their day-ahead markets.
Feeding on an abundance of high-tech talent and financial support under European-funded programmes, the fledgling start-up ecosystem in SEE has evolved significantly over the past years, in Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania in particular. The leading accelerators in Bulgaria, LaunchHub and Eleven, alone have backed financially over 150 startups.