Central bank predicts higher economic growth

THE NATIONAL Bank of Slovakia estimates economic growth at between 3.8 and 4.4 percent this year, up from the original estimate of 3.7 to 4.3 percent. The bank updated its GDP prognosis in response to domestic demand and increased strength of net exports.

The bank increased the middle interval of estimated GDP growth by 0.1 percentage points to 4.1 percent in fixed prices, according to its monetary programme for 2004, the news agency SITA wrote.

The bank has lowered the estimate of the current account deficit for 2004 to Sk15.7 billion (€392 million) from the original Sk30.4 billion (€759 million). When updating the estimate, the bank took into consideration the current account development in 2003, and the beginning of 2004.

The bank originally predicted an increase in the average nominal monthly wage between 7.2 and 8.2 percent, but changed their estimate, concluding that nominal wages should rise by 7.9 to 9.5 percent this year. Under the expected average inflation rate of 7.5 percent, real wages should increase by between 0.4 and 1.9 percent in 2004.

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