BUSINESS SHORTS

May trade deficit higher than expected

SLOVAKIA'S foreign trade deficit for May improved by more than Sk4 million from the year before, but it was still more than twice what the market expected.

The country's preliminary foreign trade deficit was Sk3.5 billion (€105.6 million) in May, the Statistics Bureau announced on July 12. That was an improvement of Sk4.2 million (€126,600) from May 2006.

The deficit was more than double the market expectation of Sk1.6 billion (€48.3 million). It did not mirror positive results in industrial output, whose sound May growth of 17.4 percent suggested a better trade deficit.

Marek Gábriš, an analyst with the ČSOB bank, told the SITA newswire the export numbers were particularly disappointing because their growth decreased from April's 24 percent to May's 15.9 percent.

Details of May's foreign trade figures will not be known until August, so analysts could not yet point to the decisive factors behind the latest trade results.

However, analysts do not perceive the Sk3.5 billion May deficit as negative. The export growth of nearly 16 percent was bigger than import growth, which was at 11 percent.

Exports in May totalled Sk120.4 billion (€3.6 billion), while imports amounted to Sk123.9 billion (€3.7 billion).

Total exports in the first five months of this year grew by 23.7 percent compared to the same period of last year, to Sk569.8 billion (€17.2 billion), while total imports rose 14.9 percent to Sk575.2 billion (€17.4 billion).

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