According to a survey by the Slovak Statistical Office (ŠÚSR), 37 percent of industrial companies said their production output fell in February, while 32 percent registered growth and 31 percent saw no change. The survey, published on March 2, was conducted among 319 companies with 20 or more employees, which accounted for 66 percent of overall Slovak industrial output in December 1997. The companies cited difficulties in obtaining finances, low domestic and foreign demand, competition from imports and an unstable economic environment as the main barriers to higher output growth. Industrial output in December rose 1.7 percent year-on-year, compared with an annual growth of 0.6 percent in November. 64 percent of the firms polled said they expected an increase in production in the March to May period, while only seven percent said their production would fall in the next three months. A significant output increase was expected in the production of transportation equipment, oil refining, metallurgy, paper production and mining. Some 32 percent of the firms expected domestic demand to rise in the next three months and around 50 percent said they expected to see an increase in their exports.