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Economists less optimistic about meeting targets

OPTIMISM about Slovakia's chances of adopting the euro on schedule dimmed slightly in June, according to a survey of economists.

Fifteen out of the 16 economic analysts polled by an economic think-tank in June believed Slovakia would meet the Maastricht criteria for adopting the euro on January 1, 2009, but they pegged the probability of meeting those targets at 76 percent. Last month, they thought Slovakia had a 77-percent chance.

"Keeping the general government deficit low, as well as inflation, are posing the greatest risks to entry into the eurozone," said World Bank economist Anton Marcinčin.

The drop could be attributed to evaluations of the general government deficit and inflation criteria, the SITA newswire wrote.

The Institute for Economic and Social Reforms (INEKO) independent think-tank and the Club of Economic Analysts conduct the monthly survey.

The economists also estimated the exchange rate when Slovakia enters the eurozone would be 32.44 SKK/EUR, the survey showed.

They put the probability of the government fulfilling its general deficit requirements at 79 percent, down from 82 percent in May. The likelihood of Slovakia meeting its inflation targets was estimated at 85 percent, down from 86 percent a month earlier.

Analysts have said all along that the exchange stability targets would be the easiest to meet. That did not change this month, with the economists saying the government had an 88-percent chance of fulfilling that goal.

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