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Croatia Shipping Report Q1 2014 - New Study Released

New Transportation research report from Business Monitor International is now available from Fast Market Research

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Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/31/2013 -- 2014 Outlook Reduced Again

The Croatian economy is set to recover in 2014, but after five consecutive years of retrenchment (negative or zero growth), BMI is projecting a very weak and slow improvement. On the plus side, sentiment has been boosted by accession to the European Union in mid-2013; tourism is performing well, and household consumption is edging back into positive territory. On the negative side Croatia already finds itself in political dispute with the EU (over its failure to implement a European Arrest Warrant); investment and government spending remains constrained; and unemployment remains stubbornly high at 16.9%. Although inflows of EU money following accession should support infrastructure development over the long term, inefficient policy implementation is likely to delay its impact on investment spending in 2014. The export outlook remains weak, so we expect the trade deficit to widen in 2014, acting as further drag on growth. Weighing up these factors, we are maintaining our estimate for GDP contraction of 0.4% in 2013, followed by growth of only 0.6% in 2014 (down from our forecast of 1.1% in our last quarterly shipping report).

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Looking at the ports and shipping sector, we believe annual bulk cargo percentage growth will remain in the low single digits, in line with a slow and rather painful recovery and a continuing weak trade performance. The largely import and transit-led box traffic outlook is more encouraging, with growth in the higher single digits (between 5% and 10% per annum). This at least in part reflects the country's role as a regional gateway for transit trade. On the whole, we do not believe bulk tonnage handled at Croatia's main ports will exceed the record levels achieved back in 2007/08. On the container side, however, we see steady growth boosted by regional import demand.

Headline Industry Data

- In 2014 port of Rijeka tonnage volume will rise by 1.9% to 8.871mn tonnes, after 1.9% growth in 2013. Over the medium term to 2018, we project average annual growth of 2.5%.
- 2014 port of Rijeka container throughput forecast to grow 8.3% to 198,887 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Over the medium term, we project a good average annual increase of 7.7%, significantly ahead of GDP.
- 2014 total trade growth forecast at -0.8%, following a contraction of 1.2% in 2013 and 1.7% in 2012.

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