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Moldova's economic performance has been relatively strong over the past few years but has been repeatedly hindered by the unfavourable global situation or by poor climatic conditions. After Moldova's economy collapsed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, GDP went back to its pre-pandemic level in 2021. According to the latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics, In January-September 2022, the country’s GDP amounted to MDL 197,8 billion, decreasing in real terms by 4.1% compared to the same period one year earlier. In sectoral terms, agriculture decreased by 1.5%, construction by 1.1%, real estate by 0.8%, and manufacturing by 0.7%. For the year as a whole, the IMF estimated GDP growth to be stagnant (0%). As both the internal and external contexts improve, growth is expected to pick up this year (2.3%) before accelerating further in 2024 (5.8%).
Concerning public finances, the debt-to-GDP ratio increased to 36% in 2022 (from 33.1% one year earlier) and is expected to follow an upward trend over the forecast horizon, reaching 38.3% in 2023 and 41.7% in 2024 according to the IMF. Governmental figures show that the general budget was negative by 5.4% of GDP last year, whereas the proposed 2023 budget foresees a rise in the deficit, projected at around 6% of GDP. Demand-side drivers added to the significant supply-side factors that have shaped inflation over the past year: although it slowed in the last quarter of 2022, the average annual inflation rate was estimated at 28.5% by the IMF. The Central Bank decided to cut the monetary policy rate by 1.5pp to 20% on December 5, stating that the monetary policy relaxation would continue if future inflation data confirm its expectations. For 2023, the IMF forecasts inflation to ease to 13.8%, with a more consistent decrease expected for 2024 (5%). Over the longer term, Moldova's economy still has to face many challenges, including corruption, political uncertainty, weak administrative capacity, energy import dependence, Russian political and economic pressure, heavy dependence on agricultural exports, and unresolved separatism in Moldova's Transnistria region.
The country’s unemployment rate is relatively stable, hovering around 3.5%; however, the jobless rate is higher in urban areas than in rural areas. Moldova remains the poorest country in Europe and has one of the lowest productivity levels: in 2022, the GDP per capita was estimated at USD 16,483 by the IMF, 70% lower than the European Union’s average.
|Main Indicators||2020||2021||2022 (E)||2023 (E)||2024 (E)|
|GDP (billions USD)||11.53||13.68||14.41||15.83||16.98|
|GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)||-8.3||13.9||-5.6||2.0||4.3|
|GDP per Capita (USD)||4,378||5,289||5,671||6,343||6,927|
|General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP)||36.6||33.1||33.5||34.5||36.7|
|Inflation Rate (%)||3.8||5.1||28.6||13.8||5.0|
|Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)||3.8||3.3||2.6||3.0||3.0|
|Current Account (billions USD)||-0.89||-1.70||-1.89||-2.02||-1.97|
|Current Account (in % of GDP)||-7.7||-12.4||-13.1||-12.8||-11.6|
Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , Latest available data
Note: (e) Estimated Data
Even if its impact on the country´s GDP has decreased over the past years, the agriculture sector is key to Moldova's economy: it still represents 10.4% of the GDP and employs nearly 21% of the workforce (World Bank, latest data available). Farmlands cover 2.48 million hectares or 75% of the country’s territory, including 1.82 million hectares of arable land (National Bureau of Statistics). Moldova's main products are vegetables, fruits, grapes, grain, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, tobacco, beef, milk and wine. In recent years, the government of Moldova has made efforts to modernize and improve the efficiency of the agricultural sector. This has included investments in new equipment and technology, as well as the implementation of policies aimed at improving land use and increasing agricultural productivity. However, the agricultural sector still faces some challenges, including limited access to financing and a lack of infrastructure in rural areas. According to data from the statistical office, Moldova’s agricultural output fell by 29.8% in 2022, mainly due to a significant decrease in plant production (-26.8%) and livestock production (-3.6%).
The secondary sector represents 20.6% of the GDP, employing 22% of the active population. Traditionally, the country’s main industries have been manufacturing, agriculture and food processing, textile, apparel and footwear. The manufacturing industry alone is estimated to contribute 9% of the country’s GDP. The government of Moldova has implemented policies aimed at supporting the growth of the industrial sector, including tax incentives for investors and efforts to improve the business environment. The National Bureau of Statistics states that Moldova's industrial production fell by 5.1% year-on-year in 2022 (manufacturing decreased by 4.5% and mining by 4.9%).
The GDP structure is progressively turning towards services, to the detriment of heavy industry and agriculture. The tertiary sector now represents 54.9% of the GDP, employing more than half of the workforce (57%). It is driven by the insurance, legal consultancy and telecommunications sectors. The ICT sector is also growing. The finance sector in Moldova has undergone significant reforms in recent years, with efforts to strengthen regulation and supervision, increase transparency and accountability, and promote competition. Moldova has also made efforts to improve its transportation infrastructure, including through investments in roads, railways, and airports, in order to support the growth of the services sector. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the retail trade turnover decreased by 1.8% y-o-y in 2022, while that of wholesale trade increased by 25.9%. Concerning the tourism sector, the country welcomed almost 334k tourists in 2022 (1.9 times more than the previous year) of which 51,5% were residents and 48,5% were non-residents.
|Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
|Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment)||21.0||21.7||57.3|
|Value Added (in % of GDP)||10.4||20.6||54.9|
|Value Added (Annual % Change)||45.0||-0.7||15.9|
Source: World Bank - Latest available data.
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|Moldovan Leu (MDL) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR||0.56||0.54||0.50||0.50||0.44|
Source: World Bank - Latest available data.
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The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.
International trade represents over 89% of Moldova's GDP (World Bank, latest data available). The country is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has signed 44 free trade agreements, including those with the EU, Turkey, the UK, and the Commonwealth of Independent States. According to provisional data by the National Bureau of Statistics, in 2022 the country’s main exports were food and live animals (21.3%), machinery and transport equipment (15.9%), mineral fuels and lubricants (13.6%), and petroleum products (12.9%); whereas imports were led by mineral fuels and lubricants (28%), machinery and transport equipment (22%), petroleum products (16.7%), manufactured goods (14.1%), and chemical products (11.7%).
Traditionally, exports were directed mainly to Russia, but since 2009 more than half of Moldova’s exports have been destined for EU markets. In 2022, the country’s main trading partners were Romania (28.6%), Ukraine (16.6%), Italy (7.6%), Turkey (7%), and Germany (5.3%); whereas imports came chiefly from Romania (17.9%), Russia(12.4%), China (10.3%), Ukraine (9.3%), and Turkey (7.2% - data National Bureau of Statistics). According to the EU Delegation to Moldova, exports of several Moldovan goods to the European Union increased significantly in January-September 2022: exports of machinery, electrical equipment and parts rose by 3.4% to USD 393.5 million, those of oilseeds and fruits totalled USD 266.7 million (up by 280.5%), and those of cereals reached USD 204.7 million (+249.6%).
Moldova’s trade balance is structurally in deficit. According to data by WTO, in 2021 the country exported USD 3.1 billion worth of goods against USD 7.1 billion in imports (+26.5% and +32.5%, respectively). Concerning services, exports (at USD 1.6 billion) were slightly higher than imports (USD 1.1 billion). Data from the World Bank shows that the country’s trade balance on goods and services was negative by 27.4% of GDP in 2021 (from 22.8% one year earlier). Preliminary figures from the National Bureau of Statistics point out that, in 2022, Moldova exported USD 4.3 billion worth of goods (+37.9% year-on-year), importing USD 9.2 billion (+28.5% y-o-y).
|Foreign Trade Indicators||2017||2018||2019||2020||2021|
|Imports of Goods (million USD)||4,831||5,760||5,843||5,416||7,177|
|Exports of Goods (million USD)||2,425||2,706||2,779||2,485||3,144|
|Imports of Services (million USD)||901||1,089||1,161||859||1,177|
|Exports of Services (million USD)||1,214||1,442||1,512||1,250||1,635|
|Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||11.0||9.7||6.2||-5.0||19.2|
|Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||10.9||7.2||8.2||-9.6||17.5|
|Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||54.5||55.7||55.3||49.9||58.0|
|Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||31.1||30.1||30.6||27.1||30.6|
|Trade Balance (million USD)||-2,559||-3,294||-3,312||-3,094||-4,190|
|Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD)||-2,255||-2,938||-2,946||-2,696||-3,718|
|Foreign Trade (in % of GDP)||85.6||85.9||85.9||77.1||88.6|
Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank , Latest Available Data
(% of Exports)
|See More Countries||34.7%|
(% of Imports)
|See More Countries||43.0%|
Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data
|4.3 bn USD of products exported in 2022|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals||12.9%|
|Insulated "incl. enamelled or anodised" wire,...Insulated "incl. enamelled or anodised" wire, cable "incl. coaxial cable" and other insulated electric conductors, whether or not fitted with connectors; optical fibre cables, made up of individually sheathed fibres, whether or not assembled with electric conductors or fitted with connectors||11.0%|
|Sunflower-seed, safflower or cotton-seed oil and...Sunflower-seed, safflower or cotton-seed oil and fractions thereof, whether or not refined, but not chemically modified||8.5%|
|Maize or cornMaize or corn||7.8%|
|Sunflower seeds, whether or not brokenSunflower seeds, whether or not broken||7.8%|
|See More Products||52.0%|
|9.2 bn USD of products imported in 2022|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals||16.3%|
|Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons||9.2%|
|Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702)||3.6%|
|Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006)||2.6%|
|Insulated "incl. enamelled or anodised" wire,...Insulated "incl. enamelled or anodised" wire, cable "incl. coaxial cable" and other insulated electric conductors, whether or not fitted with connectors; optical fibre cables, made up of individually sheathed fibres, whether or not assembled with electric conductors or fitted with connectors||2.3%|
|See More Products||66.0%|
Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data
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Other parties include: Electoral Bloc "Renato Usatîi", Dignity and Truth Platform Party, Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova, Democracy at Home Party, We Build Europe At Home Party.
The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).
The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.
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Latest Update: September 2023