Slovak foreign trade was in surplus in August

Foreign trade started up again after summer holidays.

Most cars produced in Slovakia head for export.Most cars produced in Slovakia head for export. (Source: Courtesy of Kia Motors Slovakia)

Foreign trade for Slovakia got started again in August following the summer holidays when imports as well as exports reported record growths pushing foreign trade turnover to a new maximum.

“We assume that especially the automotive industry, which resumed production after company holidays in July, stood behind the strong August growth,” Ľubomír Koršňák, analyst with UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia, wrote in his memo. He expects that industrial production statistics to be published on October 11 should confirm this hypothesis.

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The traditional summer shutdown at the Trnava-based carmaker PSA Groupe Slovakia lasted two weeks, with Friday, July 22 being the last day of production. Production restarted on August 8. The Slovak arm of the German carmaker Volkswagen Slovakia stopped production lines on July 11, in a planned three-week temporary shutdown. The third carmaker in Slovakia, Kia Motors Slovakia near Žilina, closed its plant for the summer holiday earlier in the month, from July 4 until 15 July.

Slovakia’s foreign trade ended with a surplus of €216.1 million in August. This was €136.6 million higher than the surplus recorded in August 2015, the Slovak Statistics Office reported on October 10. Total exports amounted to €5.689 billion in August, which represented a rise of 18.4 percent year-on-year, while imports also increased – by 15.8 percent to €5.473 billion.

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But despite the record strong August, this summer would be only average or even moderately under-average in terms of foreign trade, said Koršňák. Compared with the second quarter of 2016 imports more or less stagnated while even a strong August failed to compensate for a weak July. Exports from Slovakia decreased by about 3 percent during the summer, compared with the average of the second quarter when seasonally adjusted, according to UniCredit Bank.

Slovenská Sporiteľňa bank analyst Katarína Muchová agrees that it was the summer holidays behind the slowdown in the foreign trade in July and that it was only temporary.

“We expect that the growth dynamics of  foreign trade would continue at a good pace and that net foreign trade should help the economy to grow,” Muchová wrote in her memo. 

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