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ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Slovak 1998 gross foreign debt totalled $11.8 billion

Slovak total gross foreign debt at the end of 1998 stood at $11.804 billion compared with $11.909 billion at the end of November, the central bank said on March 18. Of this figure, the central bank and the government held $2.407 billion, while commercial banks accounted for $2.66 billion and the corporate sector for $6.633 billion. $4.58 billion of the full year debt figure was short-term debt, about 40% of the total. Between 50 and 60% of the long term debt held by the corporate sector was guranteed by the government.

The 1998 debt figure was almost $2 billion higher than the year before, and over $4 billion up from 1996. In 1999, the NBS expects a drop in foreign indebtedness to $10-11 billion because of a decision by the NBS to abolish the foreign exchange position limit now applied to domestic banks and branches of foreign banks. This measure should decrease the total assets of commercial banks by $2 billion in total.

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