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Serbia`s economy is slowly stabilising after more than a dozen years in the wilderness.

The problems started around 1991 when secession by Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia meant that Serbia had to radically rethink its economic framework, which previously had been centrally planned with the focus of power in the capital.

With secession came the loss of much of its manufacturing base that had favoured Croatia and Slovenia; the revenue from package tourism, too-enormmously important to the pre-war Yugoslav economy-had come mostly from the Adriatic region of Croatia but, with the advent of war, tourism ceased to be a reality anywhere in the region for many years.

Fortunately, the Vojvodina region continued to be the most productive agricultural region in the whole of the Balkans, and raw materials were still being unearthed from the coal mines in the southeast and the mineral mines of Kosovo.

The Serbian government has since taken several bold economic decisions: stabilising the dinar, streamlining the tax system and reforming the banking sector.

Money and banking

The official monetary unit of Serbia is the dinar, usually abbreviated as din. At the time of writing, there were approximately 115 dinar to the pound sterling, 105 to the euro, and 80 to the US dollar. The Serbian dinar is divided into 100 para. Banknotes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1.000 and 5.000 din; coins are 50 para (rare), and 1,2,5,10 and 20 din.

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