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ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Slovakia's trade gap improving four months into 1999

Four months into 1999, Slovakia reported a trade deficit of 17.38 billion Slovak crowns ($395 million). Compared with the same period in 1998, this represents an improvement of 8.18 billion crowns.

Slovakia's cumulative trade gap for the first quarter of 1999 was 12.65 billion crowns.

From January to April, Slovakia imported goods equaling 141.44 billion crowns (down 0.6% year-on-year), while exports totaled 124.05 billion crowns (up 6.3% year-on-year), the Slovak Statistics Bureau reported on May 24.

Slovakia showed the highest four-month trade deficit with the Russian Federation (13.47 billion crowns), followed by the United States (2.76 billion crowns), the Czech Republic (2.27 billion), Japan (2.08 billion), China (1.69 billion) and Germany (1.54 billion).

The biggest surplus in trade was posted with Austria (3.37 billion crowns), Poland (2.09 billion crowns), Hungary (1.92 billion crowns), Holland (1.35 billion crowns) and Italy (1.08 billion crowns).

Slovakia increased its exports to European Union countries by 22%, to a level representing 61.4% of total Slovak exports. Slovakia's imports from the EU went up 9% year-on-year to hit 52.4% of its total imports. Exports to CEFTA countries dropped 9.7% and registered 28.4% of total exports. Imports from CEFTA countries declined by 7.1% and accounted for 23.6% of total imports.

The most significant gains were made in exports to France, where Slovakia increased the total recorded in the first four months of 1998 by 76.5%. Exports to Italy were up by 38.3%, while Austria took 18.9% more Slovak products than the year before.

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