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BUSINESS BRIEFS

NBS loses Sk3.4 billion in first quarter

THE NATIONAL Bank of Slovakia recorded a loss of Sk3.4 billion for the first three months of this year after a profit of Sk2.3 billion in 2001, largely because of falling interest rates on international markets and the strong Slovak crown.

NBS Governor Marián Jusko said the bank's loss should not exceed Sk5 billion this year. Falling interest rates have reduced the NBS's profits from its foreign reserves, while the money it is obliged to hold for commercial banks on its accounts has increased, meaning higher interest pay-outs.

The bank expects further losses on the interest it will have to pay on the $2.7 billion from the sale of the SPP gas utility it is required to hold on its accounts.

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