Armenia Opens New Free Economic Zone on Iranian Border

Bags headgear boxes made of traditional fabrics of Armenian patterns and colors lying on the stalls at the Yerevan market in Armenia

Armenia inaugurated a Free Economic Zone (FEZ) on December 15, in the southern city of Meghri on the border with Iran. During the opening ceremony the first agreements were signed between the Meghri FEZ Closed Joint-Stock Company and the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments, the Russian trade representative to Armenia and two local companies, ArmHydroEnergyProject and Arman&Partner.

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Bulgarian Capital Pulls Above Its Weight

sofia

A major new report carried out by See News for the Sofia Investment Agency shows that more than one in five Bulgarian workers is employed in Sofia. The unemployment rate in the capital has decreased by almost a third over the past four years and is now just 3.8 per cent, well below the national average of 6.2 per cent. Sofia also accounts for a staggering 40 per cent of Bulgaria’s total GDP, and is currently enjoying growth of 7.7 per cent. Growth for Bulgaria as a whole is less than half of that, albeit at a still impressive 3.4 per cent. In 2016, 52 per cent of all foreign direct investment to Bulgaria went to Sofia.

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Emerging Europe Looking Good in Best-Performing Cities Index

Budapest, Hungary. Aerial view of the old city Budapest, Hungary with river and Parliament Building with cloudy blue sky

Nine cities in Central and Eastern Europe feature amongst the first 20 in the Best-Performing Cities Europe Index, published on December 4 by the Milken Institute. The report used outcomes-based metrics including job creation, wage gains, manufacturing, and skilled service industry concentration to evaluate the relative performance of European regions.

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World Bank: Western Balkans Need to Speed Up Growth For Faster Convergence

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It will take as many as six decades for income levels in the Western Balkans to catch up with those of the European Union (EU) if economies in the region continue to grow at the average speed achieved between 1995 and 2015, says the World Bank’s Western Balkans: Revving Up the Engines of Growth and Prosperity report, looking at how Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia can speed up economic growth and achieve faster income convergence with the EU.

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Baltic States to Launch Combined Capital Market

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The finance ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania announced on November 6 that they had agreed to create a pan-Baltic capital market to strengthen their economies and stimulate investment. Toomas Tõniste (Estonia), Dana Reizniece-Ozola (Latvia) and Vilius Šapoka (Lithuania) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Brussels in which the three countries agreed to harmonise capital market regulations and dismantle investment barriers. All three Baltic States suffer from a number of constraints caused by the relatively small size of their markets: the agreement should help them overcome such limitations.

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Automotive and Transport Companies Dominate the CEE Region

Car bodies on the production line inside automobile factory

In 2016, 500 of the largest companies in Central and Eastern Europe generated a turnover of 580 billion euros, says the Coface CEE Top 500 report. Polish companies increased their turnover by 3.3 per cent, while the turnover in Hungarian and Czech firms decreased by 11.5 and 2.2 per cent respectively. With two companies located in Poland— Orlen and Jeronimo Martins, and one each in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia (Škoda,  MOL and Volkswagen, respectively), the top five lacks a Romanian business. However, this might change in the coming years. Continue reading Automotive and Transport Companies Dominate the CEE Region