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Slovak trade deficit improves in March

A PRELIMINARY evaluation of Slovakia's foreign trade deficit has put it at Sk4.6 billion (€137 million) in March, the Slovak Statistics Office announced on May 11. This is an increase of Sk183 million (€5.5 million) year-on-year. 17.2 percent to Sk119 billion (€3.6 million), while imports grew by 16.3 percent to Sk123.6 billion (€3.7 million).

The March results are below analysts expectations, as they had estimated the deficit would be around zero. They are blaming a particular deceleration in the growth dynamics of exports, which decreased from February's 26.6 percent to 17.2 percent, for the worse-than-expected results. Meanwhile, the year-on-year growth dynamics in imports increased by 0.5 percentage points to 16.3 percent.

In total, the trade balance slipped into a deficit of Sk2.7 billion (€80.6 million) in the first quarter of 2007. Compared to the same period last year, this represents an improvement by Sk20.7 billion (€618 million).

ČSOB analyst Marek Gábriš described this result for the SITA news wire as excellent. "In general, we view the slow-down of the growth dynamics in exports in March as a temporary situation," he said. The start of new production capacities in the car industry is, according to him, considerable. The electro-technical industry announced other investments in Sony and Samsung, which should start changing the figures by late 2007, if not earlier. "Therefore, we remain optimistic," said the analyst, estimating the whole year's deficit at Sk31.5 billion (€940 million).

Total exports in the first quarter grew by 25.7 percent over the same period of last year to Sk336.4 billion (€10 million), while total imports grew 16.5 percent to Sk339.1 billion (€10 million).

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