Serbia approves higher deficit target for 2013

The Serbian parliament approved a revised 2013 budget on Friday, which will bring the country's deficit to 4.7 percent of the GDP, compared to an initially planned 3.3 percent.

"It is still high, but it is the lowest possible," Finance Minister Mladjan Dinkic told the deputies who approved the revised budget with 129 votes for and 55 against.

The budget gap is now planned at 178.3 billion dinars (1.5 billion euros, $2.0 billion).

The deficit will be funded by loans from domestic and international creditors, as well as by the sale of euro-denominated bonds, the government said.

Savings worth 36 billion dinars will be made through restructuring of public companies, government spending cuts and an improved investment climate, Dinkic said.

"We have cut spending wherever it was possible," Dinkic said.

The budget is based on a 2.0 percent GDP growth projection this year and projected inflation of 5.5 percent for this year.

Serbia's economy contracted by 1.7 percent in 2012, not as bad as the forecast of a 2.0 percent drop.

Serbia says it might negotiate a new loan with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The previous loan, worth one billion euros, was frozen in February 2012 as the previous government had not complied with budget commitments.

At the time, the IMF demanded the budget deficit in 2012 should not exceed 4.25 percent of GDP while public debt was limited to 45 percent of GDP.

  • Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day 1 hour 32 minutes ago
    Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day

    If there's one car that's particularly sought-after among today's well-heeled car collectors, a Ferrari 250 would be it. Usually it's the GTO variant, like the 1963 that sold for a record $52 million last year. A 250 of any sorts demands unfathomable cash, however, which is why we can but gawk at this 250 Testa Rossa. It's as close as any mere mortal will ever come to owning one.

  • Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners 2 hours 28 minutes ago
    Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners

    Buyers of Ferraris or Jaguars are used to perks from manufacturers – including racetrack lessons to help master their exotic machines. But for enthusiasts on a tighter budget, the Ford ST Octane Academy might be the sweetest deal in motoring: Buy a Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST hatchback, and the reward is a free day of training at one of America’s longest, most-lavish road courses.

  • Why you can't buy America's greenest car 5 hours ago
    Why you can't buy America's greenest car

    Ask me or any auto expert what's the fastest car you can buy for any given amount, and we could easily cough up several options. Same for most luxurious, or off-roadable, or any other measurement. Yet there's one type of question that's far harder to answer: What's the greenest, most environmentally friendly car you can buy today?

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.

  • McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania
    McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania

    It may not be safe to enter a McDonald’s restaurant in Singapore on Mondays starting 28 April. To celebrate the iconic Japanese character Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, the fast food chain announced last Friday that it would be releasing a new collection of Hello Kitty toys in McDonald’s restaurants island wide next Monday.

  • First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy
    First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

    He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.