Chemical firms blame strong crown for falling competitiveness

THE ASSOCIATION of the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry (ZCHFP) complained on October 27 about the adverse effects of the current strongest-ever rate of the Slovak crown.

Chemical businesses that export the bulk of their output blame the strong crown for falling competitiveness and say that it threatens employment, the news agency TASR wrote.

"A 3-percent rise in the crown versus the euro in September caused the income of ZCHFP firms to fall by some Sk400 million (€11 million) on a monthly basis," said association chief Roman Karlubík. He added that this is happening at a time when interest rates have soared, making borrowing very expensive and more complicated. At the same time, high inflation is pushing up wages.

ZCHFP therefore backs the earliest possible adoption of the euro, which will bring stability and improve industrial forecasting. "But we are also hoping that measures will be taken by the central bank and Government to rein in the crown's rise," said Karlubík.

The country's chemical and pharmaceutical industry includes 187 businesses and last year employed 32,118 people, or 7.7 percent of all industrial employees. ZCHFP firms had revenues of Sk176.8 billion, including Sk162.3 million worth of exports.

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