Laggard Moldova Has 'Most Stable' Economy

CHISINAU — Moldova, Europe's poorest country, is basking in its new status as one of the world's most stable economies, even if it did take a global slump to earn it the accolade.
 
Moldova has been ranked fifth, well ahead of powerhouses like Japan and the United States, in an index compiled by London-based magazine The Banker that rated countries on how well-protected they are from the slowdown.
 
The index concluded that the very reasons that have made Moldova an economic laggard — a primitive financial system, low levels of lending and an economy based on farming — now make it well-placed to withstand the slump.
 
"We have been classified in the top five countries with robust economies," Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin, a 67-year-old Communist and former bakery manager, said this week. "To be honest, that was quite a surprise."
 
Voronin said Moldova's secret was that it built its economy around producing food, not financial products. "Crisis or not, every person has to eat at least two times a day," Voronin said at a news conference.
 
But Veaceslav Ionita, an analyst with IDIS Viitorul, a think tank in the Moldovan capital, was scathing about the country's new status.
 
"It's the same kind of stability you have in a graveyard," he said. "In a graveyard, no one dies."