ECONOMY

Leasing hits trouble in Balkans

Domestic leasing companies that have penetrated the Balkans are concerned as markets in the region are showing a clear decline in growth that in some cases is as high as 70 percent. The cessation of all investment activity by firms active in neighboring countries has had a direct impact on the leasing market. In Romania, for instance, new contracts shrank by 35 percent in January compared with the same month of 2008. The automobile sector, which accounts for a major portion of new contracts, has suffered a sharp contraction, with some firms recording losses of 70 percent last month, while estimates for February are equally discouraging. The leasing market in Romania is particularly important as this is the main country in which Greek leasing companies are present through their subsidiaries. Since last September there has been a decline in the market of up to 50 percent in Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. In Serbia the contraction was around 30 percent.