ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Slovak industrial firms see December output flat

Nearly half of Slovakia's major industrial companies saw production flat in December compared with the previous month, a survey conducted by the Slovak Statistical Bureau (ŠÚSR) showed on January 5. The poll, conducted among 304 companies that account for 62 % of industrial output, showed 46 % reporting unchanged output in December, while 37 % registered a decline and 17 % posted a rise. Official December industrial output figures are expected from ŠÚSR by February 8. November figures are due on January 11.

In October, industrial production rose a real 1.0%, year-on-year, compared with a rise of 7.8 % in September. The companies participating in the survey cited difficulties in obtaining financing, low domestic and foreign demand, competition from imports and an unstable economic environment as the main barriers to further output expansion.

Around 35 % of the companies polled said they expected an expansion in the first quarter of 1999, while 7% said their production would fall in the next three months. Significant output increases were expected in the energy sector and in the production of metal structures and chemicals. A decline was expected mainly in the textile industry and in the production of television sets and communication devices.

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