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ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Economy Minister sees 1999 trade deficit 30-35% lower than last year

Slovak Economy Minster Ľudovít Černák told journalists on May 3 that the 1999 trade deficit would probably be around 30 to 35% lower than in 1998.

"The aim of reducing the trade balance deficit by 30-35% for 1999 is realistic," he said. "I expect high-tech and equipment imports to increase with rising investment. I think, though, that our exporters have not had their last word yet."

The 1998 trade deficit was 80.793 billion Slovak crowns ($1.9 billion), which amounted to over 11% of gross domestic product.

The Slovak crown has depreciated sharply over the last year, and devaluation pressure forced the central bank to float the currency in late 1998.

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