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Oct 15, 2009 14:53 EEST
BELGRADE (Serbia), October 15 (SeeNews) – Serbia's Export Credit and Insurance Agency, AOFI, plans to keep supporting 12% of the country's exports next year, AOFI Credit Sector Director Branko Vilotijevic said.
AOFI backed about 264 million euro ($393 million) in exports and lent Serbian exporters 65 million euro in 202 credits varying from 30,000 euro to 2.0 million euro each last year, Vilotijevic told SeeNews in an e-mailed interview.
“In the first nine months of this year we lent exporters 45.8 million euro. In 2010, we don’t expect deviation from current trends,” Vilotijevic said. Interest in AOFI services from local exporters has soared since the global crisis hit Serbia a year ago.
To qualify for short-term credits from AOFI, a company must export 300,000 euro worth of goods and services a year, to have posted a net profit in the previous year and to have signed an export deal.
“The share of locally made goods must account for 51% of total exporting value,” Vilotijevic added.
The agency, founded in 2005, has a 98% payment success rate and aims to promote Serbian exporters in cooperation with other local organisations, such as Serbia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SIEPA).
While joining the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) in 2007 has not helped Serbia boost its exports because Belgrade already had a free trade agreements with CEE countries, CEFTA plays a very important role for Serbian companies, Vilotijevic said.
“Serbia is one of CEFTA members that uses this agreement the most. Its trade surplus with CEFTA members amounts to about $250 million a year,” he said.
Serbia’s trade deficit shrank by 44.7% year-on-year to $4.57 billion (3.13 billion euro) in the first eight months of 2009, the country’s statistics office said earlier this week. Exports fell by 32.6% on the year to $5.19 billion through August, while imports dropped by an annual 38.9% to $9.76 billion.
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