economy

Three reports filed against finance minister over Agrokor case

The Croatian Parliament's Conflict of Interest Commission has received three reports against Finance Minister Zdravko Maric which focus on the fact that before his latest post he was an employee of the Agrokor food and retail concern, Commission chair Dalija Oreskovic confirmed to reporters on Thursday.

It took 60 days to unravel what Todoric built in 41 yrs, says Bloomberg

It took Ivica Todoric 41 years to build an empire that now accounts for almost a sixth of Croatia’s economy, but two months of market panic were all that were needed for his main creditor, a Russian bank run by a longtime ally of Vladimir Putin, to decide that it’s time for him to go, Bloomberg wrote on Thursday.

Sberbank not considering closure of current credit lines to Agrokor

Russia's Sberbank is not considering closing the current credit lines to Agrokor's companies and continues to offer financial support aimed at stabilising the concern's current operations.

Marko Pipunic awarded as 2016 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Marko Pipunic of the Zito food processing group on Wednesday received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for 2016.

Tedeschi confident owners, management will find solution for Agrokor's survival

Atlantic Grupa management board chairman Emil Tedeschi said on Wednesday he believed the owners and management of Agrokor would find, together with other stakeholders, a solution that would guarantee the concern's survival as a system and that his company was in contact with Agrokor's management.

Croatian PM says important to secure liquidity and quality restructuring plan for Agrokor

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Tuesday that the government was taking the situation in the troubled Agrokor food concern very seriously and responsibly, underscoring that the most important thing was to ensure the company's liquidity and draw up a quality restructuring plan and a plan for sustainable business activities of the concern which employs 60,000 people.

Gov't backs suppliers' expectations for better communication with Agrokor

The Croatian government supports the suppliers of the Agrokor Group in their expectations of a clearer and more open communication with the Group and banks as well as in their expectations to be updated about and take part in processes such as restructuring and other business changes in that concern, Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Martina Dalic said in Zagreb on Tuesday after a two-and-half-hour closed-door meeting with a score of suppliers.

FinMin: I won't be limiting factor in resolving Agrokor situation

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric, who used to be an executive in the Agrokor Group, on Tuesday said in Brussels that in no way would he be a limiting factor in resolving the current crisis in that privately-owned concern.

Russia's Sberbank doing everything possible to support Agrokor - CEO

Russia's biggest bank Sberbank is doing everything possible to support troubled Croatian retailer Agrokor, to which it is a major lender, Reuters cited Sberbank's Chief Executive German Gref as saying on Tuesday.

Singapore ranked world's most expensive city

Singapore was ranked as the most expensive city in the world for the fourth time in a row, said a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Sberbank prepared to continue to financially support Agrokor

An additional financial injection will stabilise the situation of Agrokor's current liquidity in the expectation of "the peak season" and Sberbank, together with VTB and other key creditors, is working on the solution of that problems, the Russian state-owned bank told Hina Monday.

Suppliers say are interested in their, Agrokor's stability

Croatia's five biggest food companies, big suppliers of the Agrokor retailer, met on Monday and concluded that it is necessary to maintain the stability of their companies as well as Agrokor, their biggest sales channel on the domestic market, Kras management board chairman Damir Bulic said.

PM: Gov't acting in Croatia's economic, financial stability regarding Agrokor

In the case of the Agrokor retailer, the Croatian government is acting in the interest of the country's economic and financial stability and also wants the consolidation of the concern's business, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Monday.

Opposition politician rules out Russia's political interest in Agrokor

Croatian People's Party (HNS) leader Ivan Vrdoljak said on Monday that the focus of negotiations between the privately-owned Agrokor Group and its creditors was not on the owners, namely the Todoric family, or the management and supervisory boards but on Croatian families whose members worked in the group or for its suppliers, noting that Russia had only business and financial interest, and not political interest, in controlling factories in Croatia.

Agrokor says its survival not at stake, working on new business model

The Agrokor concern said on Sunday that its survival was not at stake and that its management was working, together with key investors, on repositioning the corporate system and on defining a new business model that would protect the interests of all Agrokor stakeholders, taking care primarily of employees and their jobs and suppliers and partners.

G20 ministers fail to agree on free trade, protectionism

Finance ministers from 20 world powers failed to forge a consensus on free trade and protectionism in the face of opposition from the United States.

Podravka finds it vital that Agrokor maintain its stability

Podravka is a strategic partner of Agrokor and the Koprivnica-based food company considers it vital for Agrokor to maintain its stability, whereas keeping the market positions of Konzum and Mercator, retailers within the Agrokor Group, is strategically essential not only for Podravka but also for the whole food-producing industry in Croatia, Podravka said in a press release on Friday.

Agrokor buys additional 10.1% of shares in Mercator from Agrokor Investments

The Agrokor Concern on Thursday bought 10.1% of the stock of Mercator from the Dutch company Agrokor Investments B.V. in which Agrokor's founder Ivica Todoric has a controlling interest, and the value of the transaction is some 40 million euros, according to Mercator share price on the stock exchange, the Slovenian media reported on Friday.

Agrokor denies claims about late tax payment

The Agrokor food concern stated on Friday that annually it paid three billion kuna in taxes to the Croatian tax authorities, saying that more than a half of that was Value Added Tax, and that the company had no overdue tax liabilities on 17 March.

China, Saudi Arabia sign deals worth 65 billion dollars

China and Saudi Arabia have signed cooperation deals worth 65 billion dollars during Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s ongoing visit to Beijing, Chinese state media reported Friday.

Trump unveils 'America First' budget, with security the big winner

Military spending would surge while foreign aid and environmental protection outlays would plummet under US President Donald Trump's first budget proposal, billed as an "America First" budget plan that will serve as a blueprint for next year's spending.

Croatian PM calls for calm over Agrokor

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has called for calm over Agrokor, saying that the government expects the managing board of this agricultural and food company to take wise and beneficial decisions for the company and its partners.

Sberbank says is in direct contact with Agrokor

Sberbank is in direct communication with Agrokor, however, it cannot give more details about relations with its client, the commercial bank's Zagreb office said in response to Hina's inquires on Wednesday.

Petrov: Todoric responsible for Agrokor, analysts rule out state financial bailout

Croatian Parliament Speaker Bozo Petrov said on Wednesday that Agrokor's founder Ivica Todoric was responsible for the current state of affairs in that privately-owned concern and therefore he should be expected to make rational moves, having in mind that the incumbent government consisting of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and Petrov's Bridge party will not pursue a policy like the one 20 years before.

Croatia borrows EUR 1.25 bn on international market under most favourable terms yet

Croatia on Monday agreed the sale of a EUR 1.25 billion 10-year bond on the international market, with a yield of 3.19% and a coupon of 3.0%, which is the most favourable borrowing to date, the Ministry of Finance said.

Salaries lower than 8 yrs ago, unions say

An analysis made by the European Trade Union Institute and the European Trade Union Confederation shows that numerous workers still do not feel the economic recovery because in seven European Union member states, including Croatia, salaries are lower than eight years ago, the Croatian SSSH union federation said on Monday.

Croatia to have a record long streak of 29 months of rise in retail

Consumption in Croatia in January 2017 is set to have risen at a rate of 4.4% on the year, according to forecasts made by three economic analysts polled by Hina.

Iceland returns to global market with lifts on capital controls

Iceland is to lift capital controls on individuals, firms, and pension funds from Tuesday, the finance ministry announced.

PM pleased with Moody's upgrade, gov't to continue to reduce public debt

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic is pleased that Moody's Investors Service has upgraded Croatia's outlook to stable, the government said on Saturday, adding that the key emphasis of the economic policy would be on further reducing the public debt.

Moody's upgrades outlook on Croatia's to stable; affirms ratings

Moody's Investors Service on Friday changed Croatia's outlook to stable from negative and affirmed its Ba2 senior unsecured bond and Ba2 long-term issuer ratings.

US payrolls continued expansion in February as jobless rate dipped

The unemployment rate in the United States edged lower in February to 4.7 per cent, while payrolls continued growing strongly, the Bureau of Labour Statistics said Friday.

EU membership alone not enough for steady growth, says minister

European Union membership alone is not enough to keep a stable and lasting economic growth, which needs an additional push through business cost cuts, a stimulating entrepreneurial climate and stronger competitiveness, Croatian Economy Minister Martina Dalic said on Friday.

Croatian business people more optimistic than in 2016

Croatian business people are more optimistic about 2017 than a year ago and believe the economic situation will improve this year, according to a survey by the KPMG consulting company, the findings of which were presented at the Croatian Employers Association (HUP) on Thursday.

Croatia's textile industry sees workforce and investment halved in 10 years

The Croatian textile industry saw its workforce and investment halved in the period from 2005 to 2015 as some companies ceased operating and many downsized their workforces, data from the Financial Agency (FINA) show.

Britain tries to Brexit-proof the economy with cautious 2017 budget

The British Treasury announced stronger than expected economic growth Wednesday but vowed to save for a rainy day to help Brexit-proof the country ahead of its departure from the European Union.

China's imports rise 38 per cent in February

China's imports rose 38.1 per cent in February compared to the same month last year, driven by the surging price of commodities, customs authorities reported Wednesday.

Net profits of companies of strategic, special interest to state go down in 2015

Forty-three companies and legal entities of strategic and special interest to the state in 2015 earned a net profit of HRK 1.5 billion, which is 35.7% less than in 2014, and their revenues dropped as well, show consolidated financial data released by the Financial Agency (FINA).

Brazil's economy dips 3.6 per cent in 2016 for worst-ever recession

Brazil's economy shrank 3.6 per cent in 2016, according to data released Tuesday, making the recession of the last two years the worst in the country's history.

Germany's Schaeuble clashes with Trump White House over trade surplus

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble clashed on Tuesday with the new US administration over its claims that Europe's biggest economy enjoyed trade surpluses as a result of currency manipulation.

Minister convinced of Croatia's agricultural success

The second national Slavonika agricultural conference opened on Tuesday at the Osijek Agriculture Faculty and attracted more than 200 experts scientists, farmers and executives of agribusinesses.

For 1% higher GDP, Croatia's exports to Germany need to be up 55%

In order to achieve a 1% growth of Croatia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), commodity exports to Germany would have to increase by about 55% while the export of services, primarily tourism - would have to increase by 27%, an analysis by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) notes.

Government budget deficit halved to 1.2% of GDP

The government budget deficit was halved from HRK 8.8 billion (2.7% of GDP) in 2015 to HRK 4.1 billion (1.2% of GDP) in 2016, according to data from the Croatian National Bank (HNB).

Croatian construction giants slowly recovering from recession

Croatia's leading construction companies Dalekovod, Ingra and Institut IGH are slowly recovering from the protracted recession and shrinking markets, according to their financial results for 2016.

Germany-Croatia trade in 2016 rises significantly

Croatia-Germany trade strongly increased in 2016, with Croatia's exports to Germany increasing significantly, the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations said in a press release on Thursday.

HGK: Foreign debt reduced by EUR 3.3 billion y-o-y

According to data from the Croatian National Bank (HNB), Croatia's gross foreign debt at the end of November 2016 amounted to 43.8 billion euro, which is 3.3 billion or 6.9% less than in November 2015, while the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) estimated that the debt-to-GDP ratio at the end of 2016 could fall under 100% for the first time in 7 years.

Australia avoids recession for 25th straight year

Australia's economy has avoided a long-dreaded recession, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull chalking up the sharp rebound in the final quarter of 2016 to the country's resilience.

German unemployment rate at record low as economy gains momentum

Germany's unemployment rate held at a record low in February, adding to signs that Europe's biggest economy has entered the new year on a strong footing, according to data released on Wednesday.

FinMin says unchanged gas price won't endanger power utility's business

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Wednesday that keeping the gas price for households unchanged would not endanger the business of the HEP power supplier and that the government had not decided not to change the gas price for politicking reasons, as it was at the beginning of its term.

Pakistan hosts regional economic conference after five-year gap

The presidents of Turkey and Iran were among the attendees of a regional economic summit aimed at removing trade barriers that opened in Pakistan on Wednesday amid tight security.

India to remain fastest growing economy despite demonetization

India's economic growth fell to 7 per cent in the quarter ending December, taking a hit from the government's recent demonetization move, but the country remains the world's fastest growing major economy.

Norwegian state pension fund almost doubles return in 2016

The Norwegian state pension fund reported a return of almost 7 per cent in 2016 on the back of strong stock markets in the second half of the year, the Scandinavian country's central bank said Tuesday.

Croatia's 2016 Q4 GDP rises 3.4 per cent

Croatia's economy expanded by 3.4% in the last quarter of 2016 compared to the corresponding quarter in 2015, reaching a record high over nearly nine years, according to preliminary results released by the national statistical office (DZS) on Tuesday.

Trump touts 'security budget' with 10-per-cent defence spending hike

US President Donald Trump says he will present a "public security and national security budget" that hikes military spending by 54 billion dollars or about 10 per cent.

Finance Ministry says didn't analyse HEP's readiness for IPO

The Ministry of Finance on Monday announced that it had not analysed the justification or the readiness of power provider Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP) for an initial public offering with regard to a possible acquisition of Hungarian energy company MOL's stake in Croatia's INA.

EC: Economic sentiment for Croatia deteriorates in February

The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI), a composite indicator made up of five sectoral confidence indicators, deteriorated for Croatia in February with the subdued confidence of companies from the services and retail sectors having a higher weight than improving consumers' confidence, according to a report released by the European Commission on Monday.

INA Group posts core business profit of HRK 607 mn

The INA oil and gas group made positive results in 2016, with profit from operations reaching HRK 607 million, compared to a HRK 1.34 billion loss for 2015, the Zagreb-headquartered group stated in a consolidated financial report issued on Monday.

Analysts: Croatia's economy rises 3.3%, hitting new high since 2008

Croatia's economy expanded 3.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2016, compared to Q4 2015, according to projections of economic analysts polled by Hina, who ascribe this record high rise to increasing personal consumption, higher industrial output rates and growing investments.

Brexit fears plague locals and expats alike in southern Spain

As Britain's departure from the EU approaches, the anxiety is most palpable on Spain's Costa del Sol, where so many Britons live. What will happen to the economy if the expats one day have to leave?

Croatian PM says HEP IPO most efficient model for INA buyout

Prime Minister and HDZ leader Andrej Plenkovic on Saturday commented on models for buying back Hungarian oil and gas company MOL's stake in INA, saying that an initial public offering of 25% of the HEP power company's shares to obtain funds for INA's buyout was "the most efficient, fastest, simplest and cleanest option with the fewest participants, which enables the state, which is the owner (of HEP), to control the process in its entirety."

Poll: Majority of Greeks want new savings reforms to avoid elections

Over 60 per cent of Greeks are in favour of striking a new deal to unlock a fresh bailout from creditors as an alternative to snap polls, according to a survey commissioned by the To Vima newspaper.

Economy minister: IPO of minority interest in HEP still good model for INA buyout

Croatian Economy Minister Martina Dalic of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) on Saturday commented on possible models for buying out Hungarian oil and gas company MOL's stake in the Croatian oil and gas company INA, repeating that "an initial public offering of a minority interest in the HEP power company is practicable and a good model that preserves the company while ensuring a number of advantages and benefits for Croatian citizens."

Project Slavonia one of key government goals, PM says

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Friday opened the 22nd international fair of the economy, trades and crafts and agriculture Viroexpo 2017, saying it fit into one of the government's key goals, work on Project Slavonia.

China overtook US, France as Germany's top trading partner in 2016

China overtook the United States as Germany's biggest trading partner in 2016, according to data provided by the Federal Statistics Office on Friday.

Germany's record surplus sets off debate about using extra cash

Germany's budget surplus continued to grow last year, reaching its highest level since the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990 and setting off a debate about what to do with the extra cash.

HURS says Croatia fails to create conditions for long-term growth

The Croatian Association of Workers' Trade Unions (HURS) warned on Thursday that a report which the European Commission released on Wednesday showed that Croatia had failed to create conditions for a long-term economic growth, adding that the situation in the Podravka food company suggested the continuation of the trend of shutting down jobs in the production sector.

FDI in Croatia totals EUR 1.2 bn in Jan-Sept 2016

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Croatia totalled EUR 1.227 billion in the first nine months of 2016, which is 552 million or 82% more than in the same period in 2015, analysts at Raiffeisenbank Austria (RBA) said in a report on Thursday, citing data provided by the Croatian National Bank.

South Africa to raise taxes for the wealthiest

South Africa will raise the income tax rate for the country's wealthiest to 45 per cent from 41 per cent, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced Wednesday.

EU calls on Germany to reduce large current account surplus

The European Commission on Wednesday called on Germany, the bloc's biggest economy, to reduce its large current account surplus and focus on boosting domestic consumption.

EU seeks to fine Austria for misrepresenting debt data

The European Commission was seeking to slap a fine of close to 30 million euros (31.5 million dollars) on Austria after one of its states reported incorrect debt data to the EU's statistical office, EU Commissioner Marianne Thyssen said Wednesday.

Croatia remains Bosnia's biggest trade partner in 2016

Croatia is still the most important foreign trade partner to Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to figures released by the BiH Chamber of Foreign Trade which show that in 2016 the two countries' trade had gone up.

China says it will uphold UN sanctions against North Korea

China is determined to execute sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council against North Korea, China’s minister of commerce said Tuesday, a few days after the Chinese government suspended all coal imports from North Korea.

Greece's creditors want sweeping reforms before next bailout payment

Greece must make sweeping reforms to its labour market, pension system and collective bargaining agreements in order to receive its next vital bailout payment, the country's European creditors said Monday.

Petrokemija posts HRK 87.3m loss in 2016

The Petrokemija artificial fertiliser manufacturer made HRK 1.93 billion in revenues in 2016, expenditures were HRK 2.02 billion and the loss was HRK 87.3 million, down 5.6% on the year, the Kutina-based plant said on Monday.

Croatia's GDP per capita in 2014 was EUR 10,152

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in Croatia in 2014 was HRK 77,456 or EUR 10,152, and broken down by region, the highest GDP per capita was recorded in Zagreb, being 76.4% above the national average, while the north-eastern Virovitica-Podravina County had the lowest GDP per capita, 44.3% below the national average, show figures provided by the national statistical office (DZS).

Mongolia, IMF agree on 5.5-billion-dollar economic bailout package

The International Monetary Fund and partners have agreed to lend Mongolia 5.5 billion dollars to bail out its faltering economy, the organization announced on Sunday.

Uncertainties over Cimos deal between Slovenia and Croatia finally resolved - Slovenian media

Slovenia and Croatia have managed to resolve all contentious issues that were a prerequisite for the privatisation of the Koper-based Cimos car parts manufacturer and its sale to the Italian Palladio Finanziaria fund, Slovenian media reported on Thursday, citing unofficial sources.

Italian lawmakers approve 20-billion-euro debt hike for bank rescue

Italy's lower house of parliament on Thursday approved a government bid to increase public debt by up to 20 billion euros (about 21.3 billion dollars) to fund a rescue package for Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) and other ailing banks.

Croatia, India sign economic cooperation agreement

Croatian Economy and Enterprise Minister Martina Dalic and Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman signed an agreement on economic cooperation between the two governments in Zagreb on Tuesday.

Athens: Agreement with international creditors could be imminent

The Greek government and its international creditors could soon come to an agreement on the implementation of further financial reforms, a government spokesman said Tuesday.

Companies recently not exporting to Russia lose licences

Exports to the Russian Federation can be renewed following results of inspections by the relevant bodies in third countries and an analysis by the federal veterinary service.

Eurozone economy growth stagnates at end of 2016

Economic growth in the eurozone rose by 0.4 per cent at the end of 2016 compared to the previous quarter, while growth for the whole of the European Union stood at 0.5 per cent, the EU's statistics office said Tuesday.

Economy minister says government's goal is permanent 5% economic growth

The government's goal is to achieve a permanent economic growth rate of 5%, Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Minister Martina Dalic said on Monday at a business lunch organised by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham).

South Sudan scraps fuel subsidies to close budget deficit

War-torn South Sudan has scrapped fuel subsidies to help close its 200-million-dollar budget deficit, Finance Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau said Monday.

Parliament in favour of inquiry commission for Institute of Immunology

Croatian lawmakers were unanimous in their position on Friday that an inquiry commission should be set up to establish responsibility for the situation in the Institute of Immunology in Zagreb.

Germany posts record trade surplus adding to tensions with Trump

Germany reported a record trade surplus in 2016 adding to tensions with the Trump White House, which claims Europe's biggest economy is using a "grossly undervalued" euro to boost its export machine.

Imports increase faster than exports

Croatia's commodity exports in the first 11 months of 2016, expressed in the national currency, increased by 3.6%, on the year, while imports rose by 3.9%, the statistical office DZS said on Wednesday.

German exporters: Global recession could be "inevitable" under Trump

The head of Germany's influential exporters' association lashed out on Tuesday at US President Donald Trump, describing him as obsessed with power, and saying he could trigger a global recession.

ECB president Draghi to US: "We are not currency manipulators"

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi rejected US accusations of currency manipulation during a briefing before a committee of the European Parliament on Monday.

Djuro Djakovic inks additional HRK 15 mln deal with ATIR RAIL

The Djuro Djaković Specijalna Vozila company has concluded a HRK 15 million deal for the delivery of freight wagons to the French ATIR RAIL, the company reported on Monday. 

Privredni Vjesnik: Svaljek best analyst in 2016

In the survey "Business Expectations 2017", for the first time in five years, Croatian entrepreneurs have expressed some optimism, it was said on Monday at a presentation of the results of the survey conducted by the Privredni Vjesnik business weekly.

Turkey transfers shares in top companies to wealth fund

Turkey's government has begun to transfer its shares in top companies, including Turkish Airlines and Halkbank, to a sovereign wealth fund.

Dalic: Time to analyse advantages, drawbacks of joining euro area

Economy and Enterprise Minister Martina Dalic said on Saturday the time was right for Croatia to start analysing and defining the advantages and drawbacks of joining the euro area.

HNB says will continue with its stable kuna exchange rate policy

The Croatian National Bank (HNB) will continue with its policy of kuna exchange rate stability, the HNB told Hina when asked to comment on recommendations by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic's council for economic affairs regarding monetary policy.

Nigeria navy confiscated 1.35bn dollars in illegal oil in 2016

Nigeria's navy confiscated 420 billion naira (1.35 billion dollars) in illegal crude oil and diesel in 2016, the chief of naval staff said Thursday.

PM says Croatia starts 2017 with encouraging indicators

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has said that Croatia ushered in the new year in a positive atmosphere boosted by positive economic indicators and positive assessments made by international credit ratings.

Fed leaves benchmark US interest rate unchanged

The Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged Wednesday amid slowing fourth-quarter growth and a recent uptick in unemployment in the United States.

Indian minister pledges aid for poor, praises withdrawl of bank notes

The Indian government revealed plans on Wednesday to push spending and poverty alleviation schemes in rural areas in the upcoming fiscal year to try offset the economic setback of removing high-value currency notes from circulation.

Minister says economy recovering, expects positive trends to continue

Croatia's Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Minister Martina Dalic said on Tuesday that data showing an increase in industrial production proved that the economy was recovering, noting that she expected positive trends to continue in the period to come.

Turkey tourism revenue down 27 per cent in fourth quarter

Turkey tourism revenues were down 27.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016, state-run agency Turkstat said Tuesday, noting income was recorded at 4.7 billion dollars.

PM: Industrial production growth shows Croatia on right track

The industrial production growth shows that Croatia is on the right track, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Monday commenting on the latest statistics which indicated that industrial production had increased by 14.9 percent in December 2016, growing for the 23rd month in a row and its highest rise since 2001.