IN SHORT

Slovak living standard rising

THE LIVING standard of Slovaks has begun to grow, despite pessimistic estimates. According to the Slovak Statistics Office, over the first quarter of 2004 the average monthly wage climbed to Sk14,541 (€364), and people bought 2.7 percent more with their salaries than they had previously, the daily SME reported.

The average household consumption has grown by 3 percent. A continuous drop characterised last year's consumption.

Daniel Kozel, an analyst with Komerční banka, said the increase was surprising as experts had assumed that the hike in electricity prices would have a more negative impact on the purchasing power of citizens.

However, Slovaks are poorer than the citizens of most countries with comparable economic growth, according to the World Bank; the institution ranked Slovakia 40th on its world poverty chart. Among post-communist countries, only Latvians and Russians are poorer than Slovaks.

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