Analysts Estimate February Trade Deficit Between SKK 2 – 5.3 Bln.
27. marca 2003

Analysts expect an improved February trade balance compared to February 2002, but their estimates on the monthly deficit significantly vary. While the most optimistic estimate is from banking house CSOB that expects the trade deficit in February at SKK 2 billion, Slavia Capital analyst Pavol Ondriska predicts a monthly trade deficit of SKK 5.3 billion. Compared to the SKK 6.33 billion deficit in February 2002, this would still mean an improvement.

UniBanka analyst Viliam Patoprsty regards the January deficit, which was only SKK 893 million, as an anomaly and does not expect that such a low figure could be achieved in February. „But I expect a year-on-year improvement in trade figures and a monthly deficit of about SKK 4 billion,“ he said. But exports should maintain growth dynamics above imports. „On the export side we might perceive negative impacts from the railway workers strike,“ he said. He expects export growth dynamics of about 10 percent. Also according to CSOB analyst Silvia Cechovicova, export growth dynamics should remain in double digits, but below 19 percent reported in January. Tatra Banka analyst Robert Prega, estimating the February trade deficit at SKK 3.6 billion, predicts a strong increase in exports thanks to strong industrial branches in spite of lower foreign demand. „Thus, motor vehicles and metals will remain its driving force,“ added Ms. Cechovicova.

According to Mr. Prega, restrictive government measures, aimed at curbing demand, should already bear fruit on the import side in February. „It is questionable whether higher crude oil prices would affect February imports,“ he remarked. But these left the trade balance in the Czech Republic untouched.

SLSP investment analyst Vladimir Vano expects that confirmation of decreasing monthly trade deficits could be of positive influence over Slovak currency development on the foreign currency market. The National Bank of Slovakia (NBS) has supported firming of the Slovak crown when its vice-governor Elena Kohutikova said on Tuesday that the central bank would not prevent the Slovak crown from gradual firming if trade figures released on Friday are favorable. „Breaking through the level of 41.600 SKK/EUR and stance of the central bank towards interventions at the level of 41.500 SKK/EUR will be of key importance,“ he said. Mr. Vano added that commentary by the NBS Bank Board on the trade deficit after its regular session on Friday will also be important. He estimates the February trade deficit at SKK 4.8 billion.

The Slovak Statistics Office will announce February trade figures on Friday, March 28.

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