GDP growth surprises even optimists

THE SLOVAK economy continues to grow faster than those of its neighbours. According to the Statistical Bureau's initial estimate for the fourth quarter of last year, the gross domestic product (GDP) rose by a record 7.5 percent, while the economy grew by 6 percent during the whole of 2005.

Economists expect the growth figures to continue, Hospodárske noviny wrote.

"The influence of foreign investment on the economy will probably be even more dramatic than was expected," said Mário Blaščák, an analyst with Ľudová banka.

Blaščák said that in 2006 the Slovak economy could even grow by 7 percent.

Local and international analysts agree that the Slovak economy is likely to continue to lead the region in its rate of expansion.

Thanks to the GDP figures, employment is also on the rise in Slovakia. The Statistical Bureau estimated that in the fourth quarter of 2005 there were 41,000 more people working in Slovakia than at the end of 2004.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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