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Country Forecast Slovakia February 2018 Updater

Country Forecast Slovakia February 2018 Updater

  • February 2018
  • ID: 5313245

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  • Following the March 2016 election Slovakia's one-party government was replaced by a four-party coalition government. The centre-left Direction-Social Democracy (Smer-SD) and its leader, Robert Fico, who was re-elected as prime minister, remain the dominant forces in Slovak politics. The opposition remains fragmented, and there are no obvious successors to Mr Fico or his party.
  • Smer-SD now leads a coalition government, which includes the conservative Slovak National Party (SNS) and the centre-right Bridge-Party of Co-operation (Most-Hid). In early August 2017 the SNS renounced the coalition agreement, which led to a minor coalition crisis. Although this was resolved relatively quickly and thus did not trigger an early election, there remains a strong risk that the government will not serve out its entire four-year term, despite the parties currently not having an incentive to call an early election.
  • Positive attitudes to business and foreign investment are widely shared by almost all of the mainstream political parties, and any potential political turbulence should not therefore threaten Slovakia's pro-business stance.
  • The government has set ambitious fiscal targets, which The Economist Intelligence Unit does not expect it to meet. Despite continued spending growth, we expect strong economic growth and better revenue collection to reduce the deficit gradually, to about 0.5% of GDP on average in 2020-22. The public debt/GDP ratio will continue to fall, from 51.8% in 2016 to just above 44% in 2022.
  • We estimate that real GDP growth came to 3.4% in 2017. Growth was driven by private consumption, supported by exports and a return to investment growth. We expect average annual real GDP growth of about 3.3% in 2018-22-well below pre-crisis rates-as supply-side limits to continued robust growth, such as disadvantageous demographics, become increasingly evident.
  • Price growth picked up in 2017, to a full-year average of 1.4%. From 2018 strong wage growth will start to feed through into higher consumer prices. We forecast average annual inflation in 2018-22 of 2%.
  • We estimate that the current account registered a deficit in 2017 and we expect it to remain in deficit in 2018. Increased export capacity in the dominant automotive sector will push up export earnings from 2018, leading to small current-account surpluses in 2019-22.


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