UPDATE 1-Greek turmoil will not affect Macedonia – IMF

(Adds details, quotes)

By Kole Casule

SKOPJE, May 5 (BestGrowthStock) – Problems in neighbouring Greece
will not hurt the economy of European Union candidate Macedonia,
where growth is seen this year and expanding in 2011, the
International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday.

“The economy appears to be recovering, with growth of about
2 percent likely in 2010,” Wes McGrew, the head of the IMF
mission to Macedonia, told a news conference.

The official added that the banking system of Macedonia,
where two out of 18 banks with large or full Greek ownership,
were well capitalized, as “they do not hold Greek government
debt and have very limited reliance on their parent banks for
financing.”

His remarks came as policymakers have warned of looming
financial contagion to other countries unless the euro zone debt
crisis is stopped in Greece.

Athens has major influence over Macedonia’s political future
as a dispute over the former Yugoslav republic’s name has
blocked the country of two million from joining NATO and the EU.

Macedonia was seen emerging from the global financial
downturn, after economic contraction of 0.7 percent in 2009.

“As the rebound of growth in the world economy gathers pace
and global financial conditions normalize further, Macedonia can
look forward to a more robust recovery next year,” McGrew said.

Zoran Stavreski, Macedonia’s finance minister, also said the
country will issue eurobonds “by the end of the second quarter.”

Macedonia has contracted two banks — HSBC and Credit Suisse
— “for the realization of that transaction,” he said.

In 2009 Macedonia successfully issued 175 million euros
($238 million) in eurobonds with a four-year maturity.

Greece’s crisis, which has led to an unprecedented EU and
IMF bailout, has hit the eurobond plans of other neighbours.

Albania has delayed a 400 million eurobond expected last
week until possibly next week, a source at one of the lead
managers said. Among the issues facing the market is how to
price such a first-timing offering in tumultuous markets.

Montenegro, until recently seen issuing its debut 200
million eurobond as early as this month, has pushed back its
likely issue date until late June, according to a government
official and banker familiar with the deal.

Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro have not sought IMF help
in the latest world financial crisis, opting for more costly but
less restrictive commercial credit and eurobonds.
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(Writing by Aleksandar Vasovic; additional reporting by Adam
Tanner; Editing by Ron Askew)

UPDATE 1-Greek turmoil will not affect Macedonia – IMF