More savings as Bosnia slowly recovers

SARAJEVO (AFP) – The level of savings in Bosnian banks has risen by almost 28 percent in the past year, despite the country’s sluggish recovery from the devastating 1992-1995 war, the central bank said yesterday. The amount now totals 1.12 billion euros (1.42 billion dollars), which is a 27.8 percent increase on the year-ago figure, the bank said in a statement. Foreign currency savings were still dominant and amounted to close to 920 million euros (1.16 billion dollars), it added. Bosnian banks are still struggling to win back the trust of their citizens more than a decade after savings worth about 3.7 billion marks (1.9 billion euros, $2.4 billion) dissolved when state-owned banks collapsed. All of the banks have since been privatized, recovering from the inter-ethnic war, with the state still due to settle the problem of the prewar savings. The postwar governments of Bosnia’s two entities – Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation – have repaid a small fraction of the dues by allowing citizens to invest their still-frozen money in the privatization process. Bosnia is still one of the poorest states in Europe, with unemployment at around 30 percent and the average monthly salary below 300 euros ($380).

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