"Croatia Shipping Report Q4 2013" now available at Fast Market Research [ClickPress (UK)]
(ClickPress (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) [ClickPress, Thu Oct 10 2013] We have again reduced our economic forecast for Croatia. We now expect GDP to contract by 0.4% 2013, recovering with 1.1% expansion in 2014. In our last quarterly shipping report we had expected growth of only 0.1% in 2013 1.3% in 2014, so in effect we are saying that this year is going to be weaker, but that the recovery next year will be a little stronger. The good news is that after five years of negative growth in 2008-2013, we believe the economy is finally bottoming out. The most likely scenario is that modestly improving private consumption and strong tourism receipts will be the main positives, while fiscal austerity and low investment spending will continue to act as a drag on growth. Croatia's accession to the EU on July 1 2013 will help build confidence in the economy, although there is continuing concern over domestic issues such as corruption, and a failure to tackle political reforms.
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Looking at the ports and shipping sector, we remain lukewarm on the outlook for bulk cargo, but significantly more positive about box traffic. In both cases, growth will be positive, despite the fall in GDP and domestic trade, at least in part because of 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 2013 port of Rijeka tonnage volume will rise by 1.9% to 8.706mn tonnes after an estimated 9.0% contraction in 2012. Over the medium term to 2017, we project average annual growth of 2.2%.
* 2013 port of Rijeka container throughput forecast to grow 10.8% to 183,645 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Over the medium term, we project a good average annual increase of 8.3%, significantly ahead of GDP.
* 2013 total trade growth forecast at -0.9%, the second consecutive year of contraction.
Key Industry Trends
Luka Ploce Reports Flat Cargo, Falling Revenue In H113: Port operator Luka Ploce reported a 3.8% drop in revenue to HRK59.3mn (US$10.51mn) in the first half of 2013. Operating expenses fell, aided by savings achieved by the streamlining of operations. As a result EBITDA rose by 6% year-on-year (y-o-y) to reach HRK8.3mn. Total cargo handled was flat at 1.381mn tonnes. Dry bulk remained the largest cargo category, responsible for 64% of total throughput, and down 2% y-o-y, attributed to the end of a contract to tranship coal to a thermal power plant in Italy.
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