Although the international community is positive about post-electoral changes in Slovakia, Europe and the world remain cautious about investing here.
That was the message of a Slovak-Austrian Chamber of Commerce press conference held in Bratislava on December 14 to discuss new business opportunities following elections.
Regina Ovesny-Straka, a member of chamber's presidium and director of Creditanstalt Bratislava, said that the Russian economic crisis and persisting problems in Asia are behind the investor community's careful approach. Because investors suffered considerable losses in these regions, she explained, they are more cautious of emerging markets.
Ovesny-Straka added that in spite of this attitude, international financial markets have shown certain signs of progress in their treatment of Slovakia, particularly in the development of risk margins (the amount of interest markets charge countries like Slovakia above the rates for secure investments like US Treasury notes or German Bunds). While in August and September risk margins on global financial markets were 800 points for Slovakia, she said, they have gone since down to 400-500 points.
This indicates that foreign investors have begun to see Slovakia as a target country for their investments and are showing a certain willingness to accept the risks involved in investing here.
Slovakia lags far behind its regional neighbours in foreign direct investment (FDI), having received only a quarter of the Czech total per capita since 1991 and less than one seventh of the Hungarian total.
21. Dec 1998 at 0:00 | Tom Nicholson