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ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Gross foreign debt grew by $2.1bn in 1997

Slovakia's overall gross foreign debt grew by $2.1 billion in 1997, a 26.7 percent hike, the NBS said on March 27. The debt totaled $9.896 billion at the end of December 1997, while it was $7.809 billion a year before. The NBS added that the full-year 1997 figure understated the debt's real level by around $800 million, referring to the fact that November's figure had been $10.269 billion. "The artificial decrease in foreign indebtedness was caused by an accounting operation of one foreign bank in December," the NBS said.The increasing debt of the financial and corporate sectors was the main reason behind the overall increase, totaling $8.021 billion, two billion crowns up from a year before. The government and the central bank's combined debt of $1.696 billion, as well as the municipal debt of $50 million, stayed virtually unchanged. Slovakia's per capita foreign debt climbed to $1,867 at the end of 1997.

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