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Capital Markets

Serbia returns to the capital markets

After years of negotiations, Serbia has signed a deal with London Club creditors to restructure about $2.8 billion in debt. The deal paves the way for the sovereign's return to the capital markets later this year. But how will Serbia be received there, and who did the deal favour?

EU accession and Balkan pitfalls

IT HAS BEEN a tough 18 months for Serbia. At the beginning of last year, the country faced a mini-civil war involving criminal paramilitary gangs. The struggle for power led to the assassination of prime minister Zoran Djindic.

On the economic front, GDP growth slowed to 1.5%, according to RZB, in part because of a prolonged drought, which led to a 6% fall in agricultural output.

And in the middle of last year, the reformist movement was fractured by internal rivalries, notably between Bozidar Djelic, then minister of finance, and Mladjan Dinkic, then central bank governor. The two former friends had a destructive falling out. "The problem is they are both PR junkies, and are jealous of each other's media exposure," says a Serbian banker.

Democratic discord

A rift also developed between the main reformist parties, the Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Serbia, prompting parliamentary elections in December. The nationalist Radical Party won the most votes, but not enough to form a majority. The Democratic Party of Serbia formed a coalition with Dinkic's G17 Plus party and the Socialist Party of former dictator Slobodan Milosevic.

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