08. 06. 2018 13:49
Domestic demand, be it in the form of household consumption or investment, has driven the Slovak economy upward, growing by 3.6% in the first quarter of this year. "Steady, strong growth in household consumption has already been indicated in monthly retail sales figures, and the published GDP figures have only confirmed our expectations," said UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia analyst Ľubomír Koršňák. "The first quarter confirmed that public investments have definitely bounced off the bottom," he added. The unemployment rate in Slovakia in the first quarter decreased to 7.1%. With employers fighting a shortage of skilled personnel in certain sectors such as automotive, IT, shared services centres but also in healthcare, the pressure on wages to grow is already visible in statistics. The average nominal monthly wage in the first quarter of this year reached €955; up by 6.5% in comparison to the same period last year. The Statistics Office reported that the real wages, being the amount that someone actually gets in their pockets, went up by 4.1% on average due to lower increases in consumer prices compared with the growth rate of the nominal wage.
The year 2018 should be characterised by a restart in the Slovak automotive industry, which will benefit from launches in the production of new model ranges and expanding production capacities, including the opening of a new, fourth, car production plant, according to analyst Ľubomír Koršňák. "On the other hand, growth in external demand should be gradually slowing down. Several indicators suggest that the European [but especially the German] economy probably reached its cyclical peak at the turn of the year, and growth is expected to slowly decelerate in the coming period," stated Koršňák. He believes that there are no reasons for serious concern. "Everything suggests that we aren't standing at the threshold of another crisis, and a soft landing is waiting for the European economy," he said.