ECONOMY

Croatia will maintain fast growth

ZAGREB (Reuters) – The Croatian Cabinet announced yesterday it expected gross domestic product to continue growing at a sound annual rate of 5 percent in 2004, with the fiscal deficit shrinking further and inflation stable at 1.5 percent. The Cabinet discussed its macroeconomic projections for the next three years, adopted a budget reshuffle for the last quarter of this year and an interim financing plan for the first quarter of 2004, before the next Cabinet is formed. Parliamentary elections are widely expected to take place in late November. The Finance Ministry has estimated the general budget deficit in 2004 at around 3.5 percent – compared with 4.6 percent envisaged for this year – and expects it to drop some 50 basis points each additional year.