Business Briefs

October trade deficit highest this year
FNM refuses to rule out loan
ŽSR to cut 13,000 jobs within three years

October trade deficit highest this year

The foreign trade deficit stood at 6.2 billion crowns ($124 million) for October, the highest figure so far this year, according to data from the Statistics Office.
Exports for the month were up 37.4% from October 1999 to 54.6 billion crowns ($1.09 billion) while imports rose 47.7% to 60.8 billion crowns ($1.2 billion). September's trade deficit was 1.4 billion crowns ($28 million) while the aggregate trade deficit for the first ten months of this year amounted to 23.9 billion crowns ($478 million), a year-on-year drop of 10.1 billion crowns ($200 million).

FNM refuses to rule out loan

In defiance of the public stance of the central bank, National Property Fund (FNM) president Jozef Kojda said November 24 that he does not rule out the possibility of drawing a foreign currency loan next year to combat what he said was the expected persistence of excess liquidity in the banking sector next year.
From the viewpoint of its monetary policy, the central bank has said that any influx of foreign sources into the public sector would be counterproductive.
Kojda said that a foreign currency loan could used to cover a scheduled payout of FNM bonds next year, liabilities towards the state budget, and the cost of borrowing. "Sources from the loan should be used chiefly for the payout of FNM bonds," stressed Kojda.
To guarantee the loans, the FNM would use its shares in Slovak Telecom (ST) or gas distributor Slovenský plýnarenský priemysel (SPP). However, the FNM believes a loan with a government guarantee would be cheaper.

ŽSR to cut 13,000 jobs within three years

In line with its transformation programme, ŽSR plans to cut 4,400 jobs in 2001, 2,500 in 2002 and 5,900 in 2003, spokesman for the state rail company Miloš Čikovsky
said November 24. ŽSR, the largest employer in Slovakia, currently employs 45,521 people.
On April 1, 2001, ŽSR will split into two companies: ŽSR a.s. and Železnična spoločnost (ZS-Rail Company). The former will be the main operator of cargo and passenger transport, while Železnična spoločnost would provide maintenance and other railway track services for ŽSR a.s.

Compiled by Ed Holt from SITA

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