ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Merrill Lynch analyzes this year

The international investment bank Merrill Lynch offered this preview of the Slovak crown's (Sk) development in 1997: "The exchange rate of the Slovak crown will most likely weaken this year, within the set fluctuation spread, by 4 percent from the $/DEM benchmark. It is not likely, though, that the Sk's rate will move outside the fluctuation band of +,- 7 percent noting the Central Bank's willingness to support theSk's stability. However, mainly long-term investors should take into consideration the growing deficit in the current payments' account, which could support the weakening of the exchange rate during the year. The current account deficit could grow from an estimated 10 percent of GDP in 1996 to 12 percent of GDP in 1997."

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