The European Commission released its Winter Economic Forecast on Thursday, saying that the Croatian economy achieved a full V-shaped recovery in 2021, surpassing the level registered prior to the 2019 crisis.
After a fall of 8.1% in 2020, the Croatian economy is estimated to have grown by 10.5% in 2021. The only other EU member state with faster growth is Ireland, with a rate of 13.7%.
In its autumn forecast, released in November 2021, the Commission projected Croatia’s growth for last year at 8.1%.
As far as inflation is concerned, it is forecast at 2.7% for 2021, 3.5% for 2022 and 1.6% for 2023. These figures are at the level of the euro area average and slightly lower than in the EU overall.
The Commission expects the Croatian economy to grow at a rate of 4.8% this year (compared to 5.6% forecast last autumn) and at 3% next year (the autumn forecast was 3.4%).
After strong growth in the second and third quarters of 2021, growth is expected to have slowed down in the fourth quarter based on short-term indicators of economic activities and price increases.
Exports of commodities and services contributed to the recovery, with tourism playing a key role as well as personal consumption.
Although a strong increase in demand for finished products led to a growth of imports, the contribution of net exports to growth will remain positive.
Investment is also expected to increase, reconstruction should be stepped up after the earthquakes in Zagreb and the Banovina region, as are favourable financial conditions and the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO).
The revised budget indicates that government spending will make a positive contribution to this year’s growth.
The risk balance is slightly tilted to the downside, mainly due to problems in implementing projects following the earthquakes. which could negatively affect investments.
This year, inflation could be 3.5% compared to 2.7% last year, mostly due to increased commodity prices. The high inflation rate in the first half of the year is expected to slow down in the rest of the year. Inflation will be most affected by prices of energy and unprocessed food. It is expected to fall below 2% in 2023.
The Commission estimates that after a growth of 5.3% last year, the EU economy will grow at a rate of 4% this year and 2.8% next year. Growth in the euro area is forecast at 4% in 2022 and 2.7% in 2023. The EU as a whole reached pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter of 2021 and all member states are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels before the end of 2022.