Economy and Banking Sector of Serbia

Serbia is a country in Southeastern Europe (Balkan peninsula). Serbia is a candidate for joining the European Union since 2009.

Serbia has a transitional economy, relying on manufacturing and exports, driven largely by foreign investment. Main industries of Serbian economy are automobiles, base metals, furniture, food processing, machinery, chemicals, clothes, pharmaceuticals.

The banking sector of Serbia is highly concentrated and is dominated by foreign-controlled banks. Banks in Serbia operate as universal banks.

Location Southeastern Europe
Population (2016)7 076 372 ↓ (-0.01%)
EU Status not a member, candidate since 2009
Economy
National Currency RSD (Serbian dinar)
GDP 
    Nominal GDP (2015)33.5 bln EUR ↑ (+0.01%)
    Nominal GDP per Capita (2015)4 700 EUR no change(unchanged)
    Real GDP Growth (2015)0.8 % ↑ (2014: -1.8 %)
Inflation Rate 
    CPI, MoM (Dec 2016)-0.2 % ↓ (Nov 2016: -0.1 %)
    CPI, YoY (Dec 2016)1.7 % no change(unchanged)
    CPI, Year Average (2016)1.3 % ↓ (2015: 1.5 %)
Unemployment Rate (2015)18.5 % ↓ (2014: 20.1 %)
Credit Ratings (as of Sep 2016)
    FitchBB- speculative, outlook stable
    Moody'sB1 highly speculative, outlook positive
    S&PBB- non-investment grade speculative
Taxation
Double Taxation Agreements 27 signed agreements
Information Exchange 
    Automatic Exchange no commitment to start
FATCA IGA agreed on 30 June 2014, Model 1
Banking Sector
Financial Market Development 3.4 (max 7.0) rank: 110th out of 138 countries
    Banks' Soundness 4.3 (max 7.0) rank: 99th out of 138 countries
Deposit Guarantee Scheme 
    Maximum Protected Amount 50 000 EUR
Country Ceiling for Deposits 
    Local Currency (Serbian dinar)Baa3 lower medium grade
    Foreign CurrencyB2 highly speculative
Banking Sector Structure 
    Number of Banks31
Major Banks
 Banca Intesa a.d. Beograd  Société Générale banka Srbija a.d. Beograd
 Komercijalna banka a.d. Beograd  Agroindustrijsko komercijalna banka AIK banka a.d. Niš
 Unicredit Bank Srbija a.d. Beograd  Eurobank a.d. Beograd
 Raiffeisen banka a.d. Beograd
 List of Banks in Serbia

Serbian Economy

GDP

According to Eurostat, nominal GDP of Serbia in 2015 was 33.5 bln EUR.

Serbia outperforms the European Union in terms of real GDP growth with the average annual differential coming to 0.5% over the past 10 years (2005 - 2015). In 2015 real GDP growth was 0.8% which was below the Euro Area average (1.6%) and below the European Union average (1.9%). Real GDP growth in 2016 - 2021 are IMF's estimates.

Real GDP Growth in Serbia.
Chart 1. Real GDP Growth in Serbia. Source: Eurostat, International Monetary Fund.

In 2015, nominal GDP per capita in Serbia was 4 700 EUR.

Serbia has a below-average level of wealth in terms of per-capita GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP); this economic welfare indicator has, on average, fell behind that of the European Union by -57.0% over the past 10 years (2005 - 2015). GDP per capita at PPP in 2016 - 2021 are IMF's estimates.

GDP Per Capita at Purchasing Power Parity in  Serbia; European Union = 100.
Chart 2. GDP Per Capita at Purchasing Power Parity in Serbia; European Union = 100.
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Inflation Rate

According to Eurostat, inflation rate in Serbia in 2016 expressed as annual percentages of average consumer prices was 1.3% which was above the Euro Area average (0.2%) and above the European Union average (0.3%). Inflation rates in 2017 - 2021 are IMF's estimates.

Inflation Rate in Serbia.
Chart 3. Inflation Rate in Serbia. Source: Eurostat, International Monetary Fund.
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Taxation in Serbia

Double Taxation Agreements

Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) is an agreement between two or more countries for the avoidance of double taxation.

Serbia signed DTAs which already came info force with the following jurisdictions (for agreements which came into force after 01 January 2013 the date of coming into force is given in brackets):

 Austria
 Belgium
 Croatia
 Cyprus
 Czech Republic
 Denmark
 Estonia
 Finland
 France
 Germany
 Greece
 Hungary
 Ireland
 Italy
 Latvia
 Lithuania
 Malta
 Netherlands
 Norway
 Poland
 Romania
 Slovakia
 Slovenia
 Spain
 Sweden
 Switzerland
 United Kingdom
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Information Exchange

There are 3 ways for jusrisdictions to exchange information on tax matters:

  • spontaneously;
  • on request;
  • automatically.

Spontaneous exchange of information is provision of information that is forseeably relevant to another party without a request being previously sent.

Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) enable exchange of information on request relating to a specific tax investigation, either criminal or civil.

Automatic information exchange allows jurisdictions to exchange information automatically, without having a specific tax investigation.

Serbia didn't sign the automatic information exchange agreement and didn't indicate a timeline of the start of the automatic information exchange.

Further Information:
Automatic Exchange of Information on Financial Accounts
Countries Which Will Not Automatically Exchange Account Information

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FATCA

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) which became law in the United States in March 2010, focuses on reporting made by foreign financial institutions about financial accounts held by US taxpayers or foreign entities in which US taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest. The FATCA-reporting is facilitated by Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs).

Serbia agreed in substance to use FATCA on 30 June 2014 (Intergovernmental Agreement Model 1): the text of the IGA has not been released and financial institutions operating in Serbia are allowed to register on the FATCA website consistent with the treatment of having an IGA in effect provided that Serbia continues to demonstrate firm resolve to sign the IGA as soon as possible.

Further Information:
FATCA and European countries

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Serbian Banking Sector

Financial Market Development

According to World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017, financial market development in Serbia is scored 3.4 out of maximum 7.0 and ranked 110th out of 138 analysed economies. Soundness of banks is scored 4.3 bringing Serbia into the 99th place, trustworthiness and confidence of financial market is scored 3.7 (106th place).

Financial Market Development in Serbia.
Chart 4. Financial Market Development in Serbia. Source: WEF.
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Deposit Guarantee Scheme

Deposit Guarantee Schemes compensate certain deposits held by depositors of a bank that becomes unable to meet its obligations.

From a depositor's point of view it is important to know:

  • if the depositor is eligible within the terms of the deposit guarantee scheme;
  • if the depositor's bank is a participant in the deposit guarantee scheme;
  • if the depositor's type of deposit is covered by the deposit guarantee scheme.

All these details about deposit guarantee scheme in Serbia are summarised in Table 1.

Scheme Participantsall credit institutions operating in Serbia (including branches of foreign banks), branches of Serbian banks abroad
Eligible Depositorsnatural persons, entrepreneurs, small legal entities, medium-sized legal entities
Covered Accountsany credit balance which derives from a money deposit in banks or savings banks
Covered Currenciesall
Maximum Protected Amount50 000 EUR
Paid In CurrencyRSD for RSD deposits, EUR for foreign currency deposits

Table 1. Deposit guarantee scheme in Serbia.

Further Information:
Deposit Guarantee Schemes in Europe

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Country Ceiling for Deposits

Moody's country ceilings for deposits specify the highest rating that can be assigned to local- or foreign- currency denominated deposit obligations of a bank or other deposit taking institution domiciled within that country.

Local currency (Serbian dinar) deposit ceiling for Serbia is set to Baa3 (lower medium grade), foreign currency deposit ceiling is B2 (highly speculative).

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Banking Sector Structure

Currently there are 31 credit institutions operating in Serbia.

All the credit institutions operating in Serbia can be classified into several categories. Table 2 summarises the number of banks in each category.

CategoryNumber of Banks
Banks30
Central banks1

Table 2. Number of banks by category in Serbia.

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