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NBS not ruling out intervention

Slovakia's National Bank (NBS) has said it will intervene if necessary to stop the current strengthening of the crown on forex markets.

"The exchange rate of the Slovak crown is under the influence of positive expectations and it does not reflect Slovakia's problems in foreign trade," said NBS governor Marián Jusko.

"It would be ideal if the trade balance results improved and so the current level of the exchange rate could be fully acceptable," Jusko said.

From a long-term viewpoint, Jusko said he expects an improvement in Slovakia's foreign trade, which will play a significant role in deciding interest rates.

For 2003, NBS estimates Slovakia's average inflation rate to rise to 8.8 percent, said Jusko.

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