How has 2018 started for Albanians?

How has 2018 started  for Albanians?
The “pockets” of each Albanian consumer are facing a new reality at the start of this year, because they must now take out more money in order to meet some of their daily needs, such as the need to smoke. Starting from 1 January of this year, authorities have decided to increase duty stamp on cigarettes. Smokers have started to face a price increase ranging from 7 to 10 lek for each pack of cigarettes. In some places, this increase has not yet taken effect, because merchants are selling last year’s inventories. But, they say that they will soon start to apply the fresh increase.

On the other hand, in the first days of this year, Albanians are also facing a stronger euro, after it dominated the domestic foreign currency market, as a result of the seasonal effect of the end of the year holidays, where Albanian migrant workers bring more euros from the countries where they live and work. So, it is a fact that the national currency has started this year by depriciating as opposed to euro. According to the official exchange rate of the Bank of Albania, on the first work day of 2018, one euro was sold at 133.07 lek, marking an increase of 0.12 lek compared to the last day of the year. On their part, experts predict that lek will continue to weaken later in January, while many companies start to transfer their profits outside the country. But, there’s also one good news for the pockets of Albanian people. It relates to the fact that authorities have decided to extend the deadline for the payment of unpaid power supply bills, accrued through the years. This concession will apply to all categories, households, people in need and businesses.

Foreign investments are dropping, gloomy forecasts for this year too

During the start of this year, the Albanian economy is expected to face a low level of direct foreign investments. According to experts, this is expected to follow the declining recent trends that have been seen. So, based on the figures issued by the Bank of Albania, during the third quarter of 2017, direct foreign investments amounted to 6. 937 million euros, as opposed to 6.862 million euros in the same period during 2016. Even during the last quarter of 2016, direct foreign investments amounted to 6. 974 million euros, showing that the trend of foreign investments coming into the country is a falling trend. This trend also relates to the fact that two very important investments such as Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) or the Devolli Hydro Power Plant have been completed. On the other hand, the figures issued by the central bank on foreign investments in our country show that the total amount of investments made by all states has been very low or on the decline. Meanwhile, investments from Switzerland have been on the rise. Switzerland is the country where investments for TAP come from. This country has contributed for 71% of the increase of foreign investments for the third quarter of last year, a relatively high figure for a single country. Meanwhile, the contribution made Turkey in front of foreign investments is 25 million euros. Italy has invested 20 million euros, Canada has invested 16 million euros and the Netherlands have invested 14 million euros.

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