Serbian Trade Minister Rasim Ljajic told the N1 morning show on Monday that the market has stabilized with the worst period behind us but added that tourism will suffer and estimated 300 million Euro in damages from the coronavirus pandemic.
“I can say that the market really is stable, that it survived every challenge, primarily the fear and panic and higher demand when people bought what they do and don’t need,” Ljajic said. He added that sales were 30 percent higher in March than in December.
“I think we have gone down a difficult road with all the challenges which we faced and the critical week was between March 9 and 16 when the demand for food was enourmous. We also solved the problems that could have appeared on Friday (the start of the weekend curfew) when we saw the greatest demand in a single day with shorter working hours (of retail outlets).
The minister said that the government decided to allow exports of yeast and cooking oil because, he said, there is enough to meet domestic demand. The yeast factory in Senta is making enough for the local market but there might be problems with deliveries, Ljajic said. There has been a shortage of yeast since the state of emergency was imposed in mid-March with retail outlets getting some small quantities which sell out quickly.
He said that the authorities are monitoring the situation to determine when to re-open green markets. “Our goal is to protect people but not have everything stop and see the economy suffering huge damages,” the minister said.