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BUSINESS SHORTS

Gas prices up in November, down in January

AS OF the beginning of November, Slovak households have begun paying 4.26 percent more per month for natural gas. However, the increase is to last only to the end of the year, when gas prices should fall by 3.07 percent.

The flip-flop in prices is seen as the result of a compromise between the government, which has been pushing hard for lower gas and electricity prices, and the gas utility Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP), which has insisted that higher oil prices this year require it to raise rates.

While PM Robert Fico greeted the news of the January price cut by calling it "historic", January prices will actually be about one percent higher than they were in October.

SPP, which released its January price proposal as the government shelved a draconian draft law on energy price regulation, said that a recent fall in oil prices on the world market, as well as the strengthening of the Slovak crown towards the US dollar, created room for the drop, the Sme daily wrote.

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