WASHINGTON – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) kept Serbia’s GDP growth forecast for this year at 1.8 percent, and for 2017 at 2.3 percent.

In its latest economic report on Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe published on Friday, the IMF forecasts a drop in the budget deficit from last year’s 3.7 percent to 3.6 percent of GDP and its further slide to 2.7 percent in 2017.

In 2014, the budget deficit stood at 6.6 percent of GDP.

As for Serbia’s public debt, the IMF notes that in 2014 it totaled 72 percent of GDP, then jumped to 77.4 percent last year, and is expected to reach 78.9 percent of GDP this year, and then slide to 77.9 percent of GDP in 2017.

This week, the European Commission has raised its forecast for Serbia’s GDP growth in 2016 from 1.6 to 2 percent.

No institution has included the privatization of the steel mill Zelezara Smederevo into their forecast, for which China’s He Steel will pay EUR 46 million.