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Slovak Central Bank Cuts Growth Outlook on Weak Exports, Demand

The Slovak central bank lowered its 2013 economic-growth forecast to 1.6 percent from 2 percent, citing weakening exports and domestic demand.

The projection for 2012 gross domestic product growth was cut to 2.4 percent from the 2.7 percent predicted three months ago, according to a quarterly forecast released by Governor Jozef Makuch at a press conference today in the capital, Bratislava. The bank kept its GDP growth outlook for 2014 at 3.5 percent as domestic demand revives, he said.

Even as the Slovak economy has been weathering Europe’s crisis better than its peers, the outlook remains uncertain, the central bank said. Domestic demand in Slovakia, which adopted the euro in 2009, will weaken because of austerity measures and persistent unemployment, which has failed to fall as companies streamline operations to remain competitive.

The economy advanced 0.6 percent in the third quarter from the previous three months, among the fastest in the European Union, compared with a 0.1 percent contraction in the bloc of 17 nations sharing the euro. It grew 3.3 percent in 2011.

The European Commission in its November forecast predicted the Slovak economy will expand 2.6 percent this year, the fastest pace in the euro area, and 2 percent in 2013.

The central bank also lowered its projection for average inflation in 2013 to 2.3 percent from 2.4 percent. Price growth is set to slow to 1.9 percent in 2014, according to the bank.

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