Foreign investment stagnant in FYROM

SKOPJE (SeeNews) – Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) for 2005 fell by $58.78 million (48.7 million euros) on the year to $97.07 million, central bank statistics show. «If we extract the $60 million investment by Greek-owned Cosmofon in 2004, the level of FDI is the same in 2005,» Dimitar Bogov, an analyst with the Skopje-based think tank Center for Economic Analyses told SeeNews. There was no comparable big investment in 2005 to that which the smaller of FYROM’s two wireless operators, Cosmofon, made in equipment in 2004, Bogov said. «I expect that in the best case FDI in 2006 will reach the same level as last year,» Bogov said. He added that the banking sector would probably get the highest portion of FDI in 2006, with investors buying domestic banks, and consolidating others. Services, mainly financial and retailing, attracted some $49.5 million or the largest part of FDI in 2005, followed by the manufacturing sector, with $40.4 million, the central bank said in a statement. The chemical and metal industries received a combined $24 million in FDI through 2005. The mining industry attracted $20.2 million in FDI and the construction sector drew $181,489. FYROM saw $0.67 million in FDI in December last year, compared to $10.02 million in the same month a year earlier. Italian-registered companies topped the list of foreign investors in FYROM in the eleven months through December with $16.1 million of the total, followed by Russian- and Swiss-registered firms, with $15.3 and $15.1 million, respectively. Foreign direct investment in FYROM nearly doubled in 2004, exceeding $150 million. However, FYROM analysts have said the inflow of foreign investments was still too low to boost the economic growth of the ex-Yugoslav country of two million. FYROM attracted the smallest portion of FDI in southeast Europe in 2004, according to a UNCTAD report last year. The government has said it expected the 2005 FDI figure to at least reach the levels in 2004.