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MARKET BRIEFS

Slovakia insulated from Russia crisis

The Russian financial crisis will not have any significant influence on the Slovak economy, Slovak deputy premier Sergej Kozlík said in an interview with the Pravda daily newspaper on September 10. "I would not oversate the effects of developments in the Russian economy on Slovakia," Kozlík was quoted as saying. "The biggest risk is in the export sphere but our exports to Russia make up only two percent of total exports."

Slovakia, which formerly fell within the Russian sphere of influence as part of communist Czechoslavkia, has been gradually redirecting its exports towards European Union markets since the fall of communism in 1989.

Kozlík suggested that in contrast with one of the Czech Republic's biggest financial institutions, Česká Spořitelna, Slovakia was also only lightly exposed in Russian state securities. Česká Spořitelna said on September 9 that its financial exposure in Russia and Ukraine totalled 5.9 billion Sk ($193 million) of which 5.1 billion was invested in the Russian federation. Much of this is in Russian state securities.

Kozlík also told Pravda that he did not foresee any problem with purchases of natural resources from Russia. Slovakia buys large quantities of oil and gas from Russia.

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