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Increased bankruptcies puzzle economists

DESPITE economic reforms more companies than ever filed for bankruptcy in 2004. Compared with 2003, 926 more firms went bust, a 70 percent increase.

Economists cannot really explain the increase. "Bankruptcies should be dropping in numbers", Ján Tóth, chief economist of the ING Bank told the Hospodárske noviny business daily.

Interest rates are low, the demand for products and services is growing and unemployment is decreasing. These all indicate a healthy business environment.

International economists say that these factors should lead to faster growth and exports and therefore a lower number of bankruptcies.

Compiled by Magdalena MacLeod from press reports
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