Slovak industry expands on auto exports

10th July 2013, Comments 0 comments

Slovak industrial production -- mainly German, French and Korean-brand auto exports to the eurozone -- picked up in May with 2.6-percent growth on an annual basis, official data showed on Wednesday.

This followed a rise of 2.4 percent in April.

On a monthly basis, after adjustment for seasonal factors, industrial output grew by 0.2 percent in May after contracting by 1.9 percent in April, the Slovak Statistics Office said.

Slovakia is a member of the eurozone and its economy is driven by exports of cars and spare parts to Germany, which grew by 3.6 percent in May, the data showed.

May industrial growth was driven by a three-percent expansion in car production at plants operated by the German group Volkswagen, France's PSA Peugeot Citroen and Kia of South Korea.

These plants had pumped out a record 900,000 vehicles last year.

But analysts in Bratislava said they did not expect this year's output to catch up with the figures last year.

A one-off jump was recorded as foreign-owned car plants in Slovakia launched new production lines.

Electronics production, mainly by South Korean company Samsung and the Taiwanese group Foxconn, struggled meanwhile with an 8.1-percent contraction in May.

Slovakia, which registered growth of two percent last year, is one of the eurozone's most fastest-growing economies largely thanks to foreign investment in the auto sector.

But flagging exports to its recession-struck eurozone trade partners and weak domestic demand mean that 2013 growth forecasts have been cut to as low as 0.5 percent.

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

© 2013 AFP

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