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The war in Ukraine is affecting the economies of the 23 countries in Central, Eastern and south-eastern Europe differently, according to the Vienna Institute of Economics (WIIW), which predicts lower growth in eastern and central Europe, a deep recession in Ukraine and Russia, and in Serbia growth of 3.6 percent this year.

The Vienna Economic Institute’s spring forecast is based on the so-called ‘status quo’ baseline scenario, but if the war escalates and the European Union imposes an embargo on Russian oil and gas, an economic downturn would hit eastern and central Europe.

The WIIW forecast predicts economic growth of 3.6 percent for Serbia this year, and 3.4 percent next year, with the same in 2024.

With 3.6 per cent, Serbia has the best prospects in the Western Balkans, whose overall growth is projected at 3.1 per cent in 2022, 3.2 per cent in 2023 and 3.3 per cent in 2024.

By comparison, Albania and Montenegro are forecast to grow by 3.5 percent this year, so-called Kosovo by 3.3 percent, North Macedonia 2.5 percent, and BiH 1.8 percent.

In the case of a negative scenario with the suspension of Russian energy supplies, WIIW predicts zero growth for Serbia this year, for next year two percent and for 2024 growth of 2.4 percent.

The baseline WIIW scenario for EU members in central and eastern Europe envisages a growth of 2.5 percent, and in the case of a negative scenario a mild recession of minus 0.9 percent.

Depending on the scenario, Ukraine and Russia will record a massive decline this year: Ukraine between minus 38 and minus 45 percent of GDP, and Russia minus nine to minus 15 percent of GDP.

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Turkey, the second largest economy in the region, would grow by 2.7 percent at best and 2.5 percent at worst.

For most central, eastern and south-eastern European countries, the direct consequences of the war remain limited this year.

Losses from trade with Ukraine and Russia average 0.5 percent of GDP.

The war in Ukraine mostly affects that region with a strong rise in energy and food prices reducing real household incomes and affecting consumption.

If there were an embargo on energy, the inflation rate in almost all countries in the region would hit double digits, estimates WIIW, adding that in Turkey, even in the best scenario it would be 55 percent.

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