Slovakia/Economy

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Economy - overview: Slovakia continues the difficult transition from a centrally planned economy to a modern market economy. It started 1999 faced with a sharp slowdown in GDP growth, large budget and current account deficits, fast-growing external debt, and persisting corruption, but made considerable progress toward achieving macroeconomic stabilization later in the year. Tough austerity measures implemented in May cut the overall fiscal deficit from 6% in 1998 to under 4% of GDP, and the current account deficit was halved to an estimated 5% of GDP. Slovakia was invited by the EU in December to begin accession negotiations early in 2000. Foreign investor interest, although rising, has not yet led to actual deals; several credit rating agencies have upgraded their outlook for the country. However, Slovakia's fiscal position remains weak; inflation and unemployment remain high; and the government is only now addressing the structural problems inherited from the MECIAR period, such as large inefficient enterprises, an insolvent banking sector and high inter-company debts, and declining tax and social support payments. Furthermore, the government faces considerable public discontent over the government's austerity package, persistent high unemployment - which reached an all-time high of 20% in December 1999 - rising consumer prices, reduced social benefits, and declining living standards. Real GDP is forecast to stagnate in 2000; inflationary pressures will remain strong due to further price liberalization; and little scope exists for further fiscal consolidation in the 2000 budget, which is based on rosier assumptions than nearly all private forecasts.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $45.9 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 1.9% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $8,500 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5%
industry: 33%
services: 62% (1998)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 5.1%
highest 10%: 18.2% (1992)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 14% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 3.32 million (1997)

Labor force - by occupation: industry 29.3%, agriculture 8.9%, construction 8%, transport and communication 8.2%, services 45.6% (1994)

Unemployment rate: 20% (1999 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $5.4 billion
expenditures: $5.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.)

Industries: metal and metal products; food and beverages; electricity, gas, coke, oil, nuclear fuel; chemicals and manmade fibers; machinery; paper and printing; earthenware and ceramics; transport vehicles; textiles; electrical and optical apparatus; rubber products

Industrial production growth rate: 0.9% (1998)

Electricity - production: 20.035 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 24%
hydro: 20%
nuclear: 56%
other: 0% (1999 est.)

Electricity - consumption: 23.3 billion kWh (1999 est.)

Electricity - exports: 920 million kWh (1999 est.)

Electricity - imports: 840 million kWh (1999 est.)

Agriculture - products: grains, potatoes, sugar beets, hops, fruit; pigs, cattle, poultry; forest products

Exports: $10.1 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Exports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment 37%; intermediate manufactured goods 30%, miscellaneous manufactured goods 13%; chemicals 9%; raw materials 4% (1998)

Exports - partners: EU 56% (Germany 29%, Austria 7%), Czech Republic 20%, Poland 7% (1998)

Imports: $11.2 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment 40%; intermediate manufactured goods 18%; fuels 11%; chemicals 11%; miscellaneous manufactured goods 10% (1998)

Imports - partners: EU 50% (Germany 26%, Italy 6%), Czech Republic 18%, Russia 10% (1998)

Debt - external: $10.6 billion (1999)

Economic aid - recipient: $421.9 million (1995)

Currency: 1 koruna (Sk) = 100 halierov

Exchange rates: koruny (Sk) per US$1 - 42.059 (January 2000), 41.363 (1999), 35.233 (1998), 33.616 (1997), 30.654 (1996), 29.713 (1995)

Fiscal year: calendar year