Slovakia's gross domestic product grew by a record 14.1 percent year-on-year in the final quarter of 2007, according to a preliminary estimate published on February 14 by the Statistics Office, which expects growth of 10.3 percent for the whole of 2007. The stats office said that this particularly high GDP growth was driven mainly by an anticipated increase in VAT and excise taxes on cigarettes, which prompted people to stock up on Sk8.7 billion (€266-million) worth of this commodity in Q4 of 2007. Stripped of this tax effect, GDP is thought to have grown by a real 9.7 percent in the final quarter of the year and by 9.2 percent for all of 2007.
Economic growth also accelerated on the back of a rise in high-added-value manufacturing, namely the production of machines, electronic equipment and vehicles. The Finance Ministry had forecast that the economy would grow by 8.9 percent in 2007, while the central bank (NBS) expected 9.0-percent growth. Economic analysts and institutions believe that Slovakia's economic growth peaked last year following the previous record of 8.5 percent in 2006. In 2008, the ministry and NBS expect a slowdown to 7.5 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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