BUSINESS SHORTS

Slovak crown to continue strengthening

THE SLOVAK currency recently set a new high against the euro of 35.5 SKK/EUR, and is expected to continue to strengthen until 2009, when it is scheduled to be replaced by the euro as Slovakia's national currency.

Analysts said the mood on financial markets remained strongly in favour of Central European currencies in general and the Slovak crown in particular, supported by recently releases GDP growth data of 9.8 percent for the third quarter.

While the crown is expected to sink slightly to 36 SKK/EUR by the end of the year as market players take their profits, it should hit 35 SKK/EUR by the end of 2007, most major banks predict.

The crown was fixed at a central parity against the euro of 38.455 SKK/EUR in November 2005, when the country entered the ERM II, a preparatory stage to adopting the euro. The currency is allowed to fluctuate within a band of +/- 15 percent around the parity; in the past year it has strengthened by 9.23 percent.

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