Slovak eurozone exports bounce back in April

7th June 2013, Comments 0 comments

Slovak exports -- mainly German, French and Korean-brand cars -- bounced back in April with 9.2-percent growth after a 3.2-percent contraction in March, official data showed Friday.

"So far it looks like a very strong beginning of the year that could fuel economic growth in the second quarter of the year despite low domestic demand and government curbing its spending," Sberbank analyst Vladimir Vano told AFP.

"The March contraction -- first one this year -- could have been linked to the slump in German investor sentiment or the Cyprus crisis but it could also have been a one-off statistical effect," he added.

One of the eurozone's most dynamic economies largely due to sizeable foreign investment in the export-oriented auto sector, Slovakia registered a 2.0 percent growth in 2012.

But flagging exports to its recession-struck eurozone trade partners and weak domestic demand have seen 2013 growth forecasts sink as low as 0.6 percent.

Imports to the ex-communist state of 5.4 million expanded by 3.6 percent in April after contracting by 7.5 percent in March, the Slovak Statistics Office added Friday.

Last year, Slovak exports jumped by 10.7 percent after soaring 17.6 percent in 2011, while imports rose by 6.2 percent after a 17.4 percent hike the previous year.

Car factories operated by the German group Volkswagen, France's PSA Peugeot Citroen and Kia of South Korea, which pumped out a record 900,000 vehicles last year, are the mainstay of the Slovak economy.

Electronics production, primarily by South Korean company Samsung and the Taiwanese group Foxconn, has been struggling meanwhile.

Slovakia joined the EU in 2004 and the eurozone in 2009.

© 2013 AFP

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