FREE GEOPOLITICAL NEWSLETTER

slovakia  

For current reports go to EASY FINDER

SLOVAKIA


 

 

In-depth Business Intelligence

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 31,868 23,700 20,500 59
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 4,920 3,950 3,760 73
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Slovakia

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
48,845

Population
5,423,567 

Capital 
Bratislava 

Currency 
Koruna 

President 
Ivan Gasparovic

Private sector 
% of GDP
60%


 
Update No: 105 - (30/01/06)

D-Day in September
The next parliamentary election in the Slovak Republic is tentatively scheduled for September 2006. It is one place where 'Third Way' politics still count; another is the Czech Republic, from which Slovakia seceded in 1993.
The opposition Party, Direction - Third Way (Smer), remains the dominant political organization, according to a poll by UVVM. 32.5 per cent of respondents would vote for Smer in the next parliamentary election, which the governing coalition must dread.
The Party of the Hungarian Coalition (SMK) is now second with 12.2 per cent, followed by the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) with 11.8 per cent, and the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) with 10.8 per cent.
Support is lower for the dominant party in the governing coalition, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SKDU). Meanwhile the Slovak National Party (SNS), the Slovak Communist Party (KSS), the Free Forum (SF), the Movement for Democracy (HZD) and the New Civic Alliance (ANO) are also ailing in the wings.

Dzurinda outlasts his popular welcome?
Since October 1998, the SKDU's Mikulas Dzurinda has led a coalition government that included the KDH, the SMK and ANO. Dzurinda won a second term as prime minister in September 2002.
Last year, Dzurinda survived a no-confidence motion after only 60 members of the National Council voted in favour of the SMER-sponsored proposal-short of the 76 required to actually topple the government. 
Dzurinda is the darling of Brussels and other Western allies; but he is disliked at home. He introduced the flat tax that is socially divisive, even if beloved of economic liberals abroad.
In December, Smer signed an agreement with the Slovak Trade Unions Confederation (KOZ). Fico declared, "We are looking for allies to beat the current ruling politics. Everyone is welcome."

The end of another global cynosure
Dzurinda has become a major figure on the world stage. He is basking in the glory of his reform programme, widely seen in the US and the EU as a model of its kind. 
He started it immediately after assuming the premiership in 1998 and was re-elected, admittedly as head of a coalition of parties, in 2003, a rare feat in the post-communist world.
His achievements have helped to facilitate a dynamic economy, which is also greatly assisted by Slovakia's central position in Central Europe, attractive to foreign investors, such as French and German motor manufacturers, and low wage and other costs.
The Slovak economy is experiencing its greatest rate of growth in the past decade. The Slovak Statistics Bureau has confirmed its forecasts and announced that in the third quarter of 2005 the gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.2 per cent year-on-year. Slovakia thus ranks as the fastest growing economy in the region, the SME daily wrote. 
Economic growth is being driven by exports and increased household consumption. Economists have warned, however, that this GDP growth structure carries the risk of economic overheating. In particular, rising domestic consumption could result in growing prices. According to VÚB bank analyst Mária Valachyová, the Slovak central bank could try to tame local consumption by increasing key interest rates. 
The growth of the economy has had a positive impact on the creation of new jobs. In the third quarter of the year, 2.24 million people in Slovakia had jobs, a rise of 36,000 year-on-year. The unemployment rate decreased 1.9 per cent year-on-year to 15.6 per cent. 
The average wage in the national economy increased by 7.6 per cent in real terms to Sk16,816 (441.7 Euro) a month, still very low by Western European standards.
 

« Top

ENERGY

Gas reserves represent 30% of total annual consumption 


Slovakia's gas reserves represent 30 per cent of its total annual consumption, which is the standard level for the EU25, Slovak gas utility SPP spokesperson, Dana Krsakova, said recently, New Europe reproted.
The supply of Russian gas flowing to Slovakia via Ukraine fell by 30 per cent after Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine. "SPP isn't counting on the use of alternative routes for the supply of Russian gas for the time being," said Krsakova. "As long as gas continues to flow to Slovakia, SPP is able to cover gas consumption by using its own reserves," she added.

« Top

FINANCIAL NEWS

IMF estimates Slovakia's GDP to grow by 5.75 % in 2006
 

The result of healthy macroeconomic policy and the structural reforms in past years was Slovakia's accession to the Mechanism of ERM II exchange rates, Slovak finance minister, Ivan Miklos, commented recently on the release of an IMF regular assessment report. "The government should now focus on creating the conditions for the smooth transition to the Euro in January 2009," said the recently published International Monetary Fund's (IMF) regular report.
In response Miklos said he found it "important the IMF statement points out that Slovakia's healthy economic growth is not primarily driven by government expenditures but rather by the private sector."
Although the IMF report embossed the position of Slovakia's economy as good, and acknowledged that Slovakia already was meeting the Maastricht criteria for long-term interest rates and public debt, "there still remain several risks and challenges," it said. 
"It is of paramount importance to decrease inflation and the fiscal deficit. High unemployment remains problematic, and the stability of the Slovak crown's rate will be tested by the country's membership in ERM II," according to the report.
"IMF recommends a cautious approach to additional incomes that can emerge with the predicted higher economic growth, as the government has taken into consideration in the 2006-2008 budget. Stated expenditures should be stuck to even if there are higher revenues," the report read, emphasising potential savings in public expenses as well. 
According to the forum, further economic growth in Slovakia was on the cards, New Europe reported.
It based this belief on higher net exports, expected after new carmakers Kia and PSA Peugeot-Citroen launch production. According to the IMF prediction, the country would see real GDP growth of 5.75 per cent in 2006 and 6.5 per cent in 2007.

« Top

MINERALS & METALS

Kovostroj Dobsina launches new operation in Romania


Kovostroj SRL, a related company of Kovostroj Donsina, Slovakia's biggest producer of galvanised strips and thin-steel profiles used in plastic-frame windows, recently started its Romanian operation, a statement from the company announced. Strip, the company that owns Kovostroj, invested some eight million Slovak crowns (214,000) in its new production facilities in the Balkans, creating the first 10 new jobs. "Until now, we've been exporting profiles to Romania, now we're going to produce them there," chairman of the Kovostroj Board, Darko Karlovsky, said at a press conference, New Europe reported.
The company's exports to Romania hitherto represented 18 per cent of its total exports, the second largest percentage after the Czech Republic, which accounts for one quarter of Kovostroj's exports. According to Karlovsky, the company ahs an aim of becoming the leader on the central-European market in this field, "which is why it continually invests in new engineering facilities." Kovostroj originally belonged to the group of firms linked to VSZ Kosice. Kosice-based company Strip became its new owner in 2003.

« Top

PRIVATISATION

Mixed signals from Slovak government over sale of airports


A Slovak government coalition leader recently expressed doubts about the proposed sale of the country's Bratislava and Kosice airports, raising the possibility of a collapse of the huge privatisation deal. However, Slovak transport minister, Pavol Prokopovic, told reporters the deal was nearly done and that he would recommend the government accept the offer of the TwoOne consortium. TwoOne is led by the operator of Vienna's airport. The mixed messages underscored what could become a tough political battle over the proposed tender. The European Commission, which last year said it would monitor the privatisation because of unusual tender procedures, was also mulling to enter the fray. 
Parliament Chairman, Pavol Hrusovsky, of the Christian Democrats (KDH), a partner in the right-wing coalition of prime minister, Mikulas Dzurinda, was the latest leader to question the airport sell-off. "We have sufficient reason not to agree with the privatisation," Hrusovsky told TASR news agency, cited by Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa). Without giving specifics, Hrusovsky said he wanted to discuss KDH's "reservations" with other coalition partners before the government made a final decision. 
Doubts over the sale have also been raised by opposition party leaders and by one of the losers in the recent bidding for the state-run airports. The recommended winner was TwoOne, whose investment partners include Austrian Raiffeisen Zentralbank (RZB) and Slovak finance group Penta. But some opponents of the deal expressed fear that the smaller Bratislava airport would suffer if it were run by the operator of the nearby Vienna International Airport. 
Ireland's budget airline Ryanair, which currently serves Bratislava, also embarked the front opposing the takeover of the airport by TwoOne. Prokopovic rejected fears that the Bratislava airfield would be monopolised by its larger neighbour 50 kilometres away in Vienna. He said passenger numbers at Vienna were already far higher than in Bratislava. 
The controversy began on December 22nd when a transport ministry committee recommended that the government sell its controlling stake in the growing airports to TwoOne for an undisclosed amount. Three other bidders - consortiums that include investors and operators of airports in Britain, Germany and Turkey - were rejected. Prokopovic and the rest of Dzurinda's cabinet was expected to act on the recommendation by the end of January. Citing the confidentiality of the tender process, the government refused to discuss the bids. 
Slovak media reported that TwoOne won the competition by offering 6.9 billion Slovak crowns (US$222 million) and billions more in investments, bringing the total bid package to 13.9 billion crowns. The ISAP group, led by the Cologne-Bonn airport, reportedly made a higher investment bid of nine billion crowns. The bidding took a political turn recently when opposition leaders Robert Fico of the Smer party and Vladimir Meciar of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) said they were against the TwoOne proposal. ISAP even threatened to complain to the European Commission if TwoOne gets finally picked. Fico, meanwhile, warned that he would push to reverse the privatisation if his party gains power in the next parliamentary elections in September.

« Top

 

« Back

 


 
Published by 
Newnations (a not-for-profit company)
PO Box 12 Monmouth 
United Kingdom NP25 3UW 
Fax: UK +44 (0)1600 890774
enquiries@newnations.com