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Capital Markets

Serbian equity: Does Serbia’s bull run still have legs?

Serbia’s equity market has spent most of the year firmly in positive territory. But can the good times last? Guy Norton reports from Belgrade.

IS IT THE triumph of hope over experience or a market rally based on strong underlying macroeconomic and microeconomic fundamentals? That was the debate raging in Belgrade in August as market practitioners took advantage of the holiday season lull in trading activity to take stock of whether the Serbian equity market would continue to be one of the world’s best-performing markets this year.

By the start of the third quarter the headline Belex-15 index was registering a 75% year-to-date return, with only China and Ukraine bettering Serbia’s market performance so far this year. Moreover, at the beginning of May the Belgrade bourse was up 85% and had captured the imagination of investors at home and abroad. But having slipped back from the record highs of May, the big question is whether the Serbian equity market can repeat the strong fourth-quarter performances of recent years and kick on in the final three months of 2007.

Certainly at the top tier of the market there are grounds for belief that the blue-chip stocks can continue to deliver positive returns for investors. Tigar, for example, which already has a strategic partnership with Michelin of France in tyre manufacturing, is developing a green technology project with UK private equity firm Greenhouse Investments.

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