ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Deputy Prime Minister Mikloš sees 1999 GDP under target

Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Mikloš said on March 16 that his government's 3.0% economic growth forecast for 1999 could be too optimistic, and projected that the real rate may be as low as 2.0%.

Speaking to reporters at a briefing in London, Mikloš also said the country was in the final stages of awarding a mandate for a five-to-seven year Eurobond of 300-to-500 million euros.

"Maybe it [gross domestic product growth] will be about two percent," Mikloš said, when asked whether growth would come in as forecast. But Mikloš added the government's main priority this year would be to cut the fiscal deficit from an estimated six percent of GDP last year to a budgeted target of two percent.

On the planned Eurobond, he said the proceeds would be used partly to cover foreign debt payments coming due this year. Slovak officials said there were six groups of banks bidding for the mandate with one clear frontrunner.

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