Serbia regional leader in greenfield investments
In 2018, the Western Balkans recorded the largest influx of greenfield direct investments amounting to $9.36 billion, the highest amount since 2003. Despite remaining outside of the EU, the region attracted 147 greenfield FDI projects in 2018, the highest number of investments for six years, according to fDi Markets. Serbia, the largest Western Balkan country by landmass and population, led the region in 2018 with a record $5.98bn invested into 105 greenfield projects.
NBS: June FX reserves at 12.14 bln euros, highest since 2000
National Bank of Serbia (NBS) FX reserves reached the highest level on record (i.e. since 2000) in both gross and net terms, the NBS announced Wednesday. "Gross NBS FX reserves equalled 12,146.1 mln euros, up by 490.5 mln euros compared to May. During the last year (relative to end-June 2018) gross FX reserves gained over billion euros (1,041.7 mln euros) in the very period when the government net repaid almost 1.9 bln euros in foreign currency (1,854 mln euros). This suggests that FX reserves increased on account of other factors, mainly NBS FX interventions in the domestic FX market, i.e. net FX purchases (1,375 mln euro inflow), which is the healthiest way to boost FX reserves.
Serbia to introduce new salary bands in 2020
Serbian Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ruzic on Wednesday announced that new salary bands would be introduced in 2020 and that fresh talks on the subject would be held with union representatives. "We expect the new salary bands - or salary groups - to be introduced next year, and we will use this year for a new round of talks with unions, which have been invited to reach, in a dialogue with the government and the relevant ministers, the fine nuancing that is required to implement a new salary band system," Ruzic told reporters.
Stocks close higher, S&P 500 hits 3,000 for the first time as Fed chief signals rate cut ahead; European stocks close lower as Powell hints at Fed rate cut
Stocks reached record highs Wednesday after testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell bolstered the case for easier monetary policy in the U.S. The S&P 500 briefly broke above 3,000 for the first time, while the Nasdaq Composite and Dow Jones Industrial Average also reached all-time highs.
However, the S&P 500 closed back below 3,000, up 0.5% at 2,993.07. The Dow, meanwhile, climbed 76.71 points, or 0.3% at 26,860.20 after rallying nearly 200 points. The Nasdaq ended the day off its session high, but managed a record close at 8,202.53 as Amazon rose 1.5% to break above $2,000 per share.
In corporate news, Tesla shares rose more than 3% on news the company has told employees to prepare for an increase in production.
European stocks edged lower on Wednesday afternoon after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell hinted at imminent interest rate cuts in a testimony to Congress. The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell almost 0.2% during afternoon trade, with the vast majority of sectors in negative territory.
In corporate news, Deutsche Bank shares finally got some reprieve Wednesday, climbing nearly 1% by the afternoon. The German lender’s shares had been hit hard since Monday’s commencement of a mass restructuring plan, which will drastically shrink its investment bank and shift focus to its domestic market.