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Interfax: Slovak GDP growth at record-high 8.3% in 2006

Interfax: Slovak GDP growth at record-high 8.3% in 2006

6.3.2007 17:51
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PRAGUE. MARCH 6. INTERFAX CENTRAL EUROPE - Slovak GDP growth accelerated to a record-high 8.3% year-on-year (y/y) in 2006 from 6.0% the previous year, the Slovak Statistical Office (SUSR) said Tuesday.

GDP growth in Q4 stood at 9.6%, slightly above the office's estimates. Analysts expect the data will have little effect on monetary policy and that growth will remain strong in the coming quarters.

"Growth was balanced, driven by both foreign and domestic demand (rising by 5.2 and 4.5 percentage points, respectively)," said Slovenska sporitelna analyst Maria Valachyova of the results. "We read the data as neutral from a monetary policy point of view [and see] growth remaining strong in the coming quarters."

Household consumption growth slowed slightly to 6.1% y/y from 6.5% y/y in Q3 2006, as monthly retail statistics had already suggested.

"Real wage growth at 3.9% was close to our estimate of 3.5% and was covered by productivity gains," Valachyova said.

Exports were up 20.7% y/y, compared to a y/y rise in imports of 17.8%. The trade balance is set to further improve this year after full production is launched at new car plants by French PSA Peugeot Citroen and South Korean Kia Motors.

According to Czech news agency CTK, the Slovak economy last year was the top performer among the Visegrad Four countries of Central Europe. Hungarian GDP grew by 3.9%, Polish GDP rose 5.8%. Czech GDP growth, due to be released Friday, is seen sat some 6%.

Slovak economic growth is expected to remain strong in the coming quarters at between 8-10%, benefiting from strong foreign demand and exports, especially of machines, metals, cars and electronic equipment, Valachyova said.

ČTK

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