ČLÁNOK




Cabinet Okays Green Paper on Slovak Food and Farm Sector
25. septembra 2003

Slovakia’s agriculture sector reported positive results last year, when it made an SKK 474 million profit, based on information from the so-called Green Paper, evaluating Slovak food and farm sector development last year. The cabinet passed the report on Wednesday. However, according to the report’s submitter, Agriculture Minister Zsolt Simon, the situation in the sector has significantly changed since the start of this year, chiefly due to this summer’s extreme drought, impact of tax reform, and lower sales of several key farm commodities.

Slovak Eximbank Supported Export worth SKK 23.34 Bln. in H1 2003

According to data released by the Slovak Eximbank and approved by the cabinet on Wednesday, over the first half of this year, the bank supported Slovak exports of SKK 23.34 billion through banking and insurance operations, representing 44.6 percent of the annual plan. Over the monitored period the bank earned a profit of SKK 188.6 million, up more than 27 percent from the same period of last year. The balance-sheet total of the bank as of June 30, 2003 was SKK 7.26 billion.

Cabinet Hears Report on Support for Small and Medium Enterprise

Small and medium-sized companies obtained loan assistance totaling SKK 901.462 million over the first half of 2003. They got SKK 2 million in the form of capital investments and SKK 27.094 million was provided in grants. Slovenska Zarucna a Rozvojova Banka (SZRB – Slovak Guarantee and Development Bank) supported small and medium-sized enterprise through guarantee programs worth SKK 634.38 million. These figures come from a report on financial support programs for small and medium businesses in the first half of 2003, okayed by the cabinet on Wednesday.

Profit of Slovak Forestry Industry Down by One-Third in 2002

Profit in the Slovak forestry industry shrank by SKK 128 million to SKK 279 million in 2002 compared to the previous year. Total sales and revenues amounted to SKK 10.257 billion, which represents a year-on-year increase by 2.3 percent. Sales for wood, growing by 2.4 percent y/y to SKK 7.748 billion made up the biggest portion. The annual forestry industry report for 2002, approved by the Slovak Cabinet on Wednesday, reads that sales grew despite a drop in the volume of wood sold compared with 2001.

MOL Opens Trade Terminal for Slovnaft Products in Austria

The MOL group opened the first wholesale petrol and diesel warehouse in Austria on Wednesday. The warehouse has a capacity of 18,000 tons and is situated in Korneuburg near Vienna. The trade terminal will serve as a new base for the distribution of fuel produced in the two MOL refineries: Dunarafineria Szazhalombatta and Slovnaft Bratislava, the head of Slovnaft’s public relations department, Dusan Valuch, informed SITA news agency.

Slovenska Sporitelna Still Records SKK 8 Bln. in Anonymous Deposits

Slovenska Sporitelna, a.s. (SLSP), the largest commercial bank in Slovakia, still registered about SKK 8 billion in anonymous deposits at the end of August. The volume of anonymous deposits has decreased by about SKK 400 million in a month. However, SLSP still records almost one-third from the original volume of anonymous deposits, totaling SKK 25.5 billion, SLSP director general Regina Ovesny-Straka informed the press on Wednesday.

Deputies Propose Changes in Draft Bill on Social Insurance

During the Wednesday’s session of parliament, deputies discussed the draft bill on social insurance and submitted also amending proposal. Among them Edit Bauer of the Party of Hungarian Coalition (SMK), deputy chairwoman of the parliamentary committee for social affairs proposed to increase the daily sick leave payments provided by the employer over the first three days of the sick leave from the originally planned 18 percent of the daily gross wage to 25 percent.

Istrokapital Could Gain Control Over 55.01 Percent in Postova Banka

The share of financial company Istrokapital in Postova Banka could increase from the current 34.25 percent to 55.01 percent, Istrokapital’s board member Miroslav Remeta informed SITA. However, the increase of Istrokapital’s control in Postova Banka is conditional on National Bank of Slovakia (NBS) approval and a payment for the subscribed shares. In line with shareholders‘ decision, Postova Banka share capital should increase by SKK 800.112 million to SKK 2.45 billion through an issue of 31,600 new registered shares at a par value of SKK 25,320. The first subscription round was concluded last week and the second round is taking place between September 23 and 26.

Cabinet Approves SKK 400 Million in Farm Compensation

Slovak farmers will receive SKK 400 million from the government to compensate them for damages caused by this year’s drought and price factors. The cabinet arrived at this decision at its Wednesday session. Thus it accepted a proposal by Finance Minister Ivan Miklos, who maintained that due to the condition of public finances the country cannot afford to allocate more. Based on a complex analysis, Agriculture Minister Zsolt Simon requested compensation of SKK 1.722 billion. „I am not satisfied with the sum, however, even this is better than nothing,“ said Mr. Simon after the cabinet session.

Union Support for Friday Strike Varies, Highest among Metalworkers

At the beginning of the week, the central strike committee of the Trade Union Confederation confirmed that trade unionists have not given up plans to hold a one-hour warning strike across Slovakia on Friday, September 26. They will announce the organizations that will join the nationwide strike and its forms on Thursday. However, Trade Union Confederation (KOZ) president Ivan Saktor is satisfied with support for the strike, which he says is growing by the hour.

VSZ Acquired 24.1 Percent of its Shares within Buyback Bid

Former steel maker VSZ, a.s. Kosice has bought back 3,963,864 shares from small shareholders within a buyback bid, which represents 24.1 percent of its share capital. Almost a half of the total of over 78,000 shareholders made use of the opportunity to sell their shares in the buyback bid, within which 36,765 transactions were carried out. The buyback bid expired on Wednesday, September 24, VSZ spokesman Marian Boga informed SITA.

Slovakia Needs to Increase its Productivity to Catch Up with the EU

The Slovak government wants, with the help of structural funds of the European Union, to increase its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita to 51-54 percent of EU countries‘ average by 2006. The Slovak cabinet writes this in the new wording of Slovakia’s draft position in the negotiation mandate of the European Commission to the National Development Program, which it approved on Wednesday. For now this indicator is low in all of Slovakia’s regions except Bratislava, and is between 37 and 46 percent of the EU average.

MONEY MARKET: Banking Sector Reports Liquidity Surplus

Trading on the Slovak money market was quiet on Wednesday. After the settlement of repo contracts with the central bank, this week’s T-bill auction, and the outflow of funds from a government bond auction on Monday, the interbank market got into a liquidity surplus. ING Bank dealer Martin Koska informed SITA that commercial banks kept SKK 22.369 billion in their reserve accounts in the central bank, meeting the minimum reserve requirement on a cumulative basis at 101.44 percent.

FOREX MARKET: Slovak Crown Weakened Moderately to 41.24/28 SKK/EUR

The Slovak foreign currency market posted quiet trading on Wednesday. CSOB dealer Andrej Zeman reported that the Slovak crown has weakened only moderately, from the morning’s 41.20/41.24 SKK/EUR to 41.24/41.28 SKK/EUR. „Some clients caused this move by buying the euro, along with weakening the Czech crown,“ he said. The Slovak currency has twice failed to break through the 41.20 SKK/EUR level.

Labor Ministry and Trade Unions Sign Collective Agreement for 2004

Representatives of the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Family and the Confederation of Trade Unions (KOZ) have signed a collective agreement in the public service for next year. According to this document, tariff wages in the public sector should increase by 7 percent as of August 2004.

STOCK MARKET: SAX Share Index Continued Weakening

On Wednesday, the official SAX share index continued weakening on the Bratislava Stock Exchange (BCPB). It shrank by 1.33 percent or 2.23 points to 165.38 points due to the dipping share price of crude oil refiner Slovnaft, pharmaceutical company Slovakofarma, and OTP Banka banking house. Turnover decreased significantly from SKK 4.014 billion on Tuesday to only SKK 8.6 million with almost SKK 8.5 million in share trading.

Average Interest Rate on New Bank Loans 7.69 Percent in August

The average interest rate on bank loans drawn in Slovakia increased by 0.41 percentage points to 7.69 percent from July to August. The average interest rate on business loans swelled by 0.7 percentage points to 8.85 percent, while in the category of public sector loans, it jumped 0.13 percentage points to 7.69 percent. Prices of personal loans increased 0.31 percentage points to 9.73 percent, announced the National Bank of Slovakia (NBS).

Strike Committee will Decide Tomorrow on Friday’s One-hour Strike

Demands of the Confederation of Trade Unions (KOZ) have not been met and thus the planned Friday one-hour warning strike will in all probability take place. KOZ vice-president Peter Gajdos said this after the session of the Social Partnership Council (RHSD) on Wednesday. He added that the strike committee would debate this issue on Thursday morning.


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