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ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Finance Minister expects Slovak crown to strengthen

Finance Minister Brigita Schmögnerová said on July 13 that she expected the Slovak crown to firm in the second half of the year and continue its strength into 2000. The minister did not give a specific forecast for the currency.

The crown fell sharply in the spring on uncertainty ahead of the May presidential election which was eventually won by pro-Western candidate Rudolf Schuster. The currency recovered after a series of central bank interventions and after the government launched a package of austerity measures aimed at cutting fiscal deficits.

The minister said that the government hoped to keep the entire public sector deficit - which includes the state budget, municipalities and other public sector organisations - between three and four percent of gross domestic product this year.

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