September 7, 2018 / 9:03 AM / 17 days ago

UPDATE 1-Slovak car sector pushes economy into higher gear

 (Adds detail, analyst comment)
    PRAGUE, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Slovak economic growth
accelerated in the second quarter, statistics office data showed
on Friday, supported mainly by foreign demand as the nation's
car plants increased production.
    Gross domestic product in euro zone member Slovakia, the
world's biggest carmaker per capita, expanded by 1.1 percent
quarter on quarter in the April-June period. 
    Year-on-year growth climbed to 4.2 percent from 3.6 percent
in the first quarter, beating previous flash estimates, while
exports of goods and services jumped 8 percent year on year.
    "The main reason behind the acceleration of the whole
economy was the contribution of net exports," said UniCredit
analyst Lubomir Korsnak. "We assume that is mainly due to
stronger performance by the car industry."
    Slovakia's economy has registered strong gains in recent
years, outpacing the euro zone, and unemployment is at its
lowest in two decades. 
    In June both the central bank and finance ministry predicted
an acceleration for the economy next year on the booming car
sector and strong domestic demand. 
    The ministry sees the economy growing by 4.1 percent in
2018, picking up to 4.5 percent in 2019.
    A big gain is expected when British-based Jaguar Land Rover
            begins operations at Slovakia's fourth foreign-owned
car factory. The new plant in the Slovak city of Nitra is due to
begin production by the end of the year and will have annual
capacity of up to 300,000 vehicles. 
    Germany's Volkswagen, South Korea's Kia
 and French carmaker Peugeot also produce
cars in Slovakia, which produced more than a million vehicles
last year, mostly for export.
    
 SLOVAK GDP                         Q2/18     Q1/18  Q2/17
  Real change pct yr/yr           4.2 (4.1)     3.6    3.7
  Final consumption                                       
   Household                         2.2        3.5    3.6
   Government                        2.5        3.1   -0.3
  Gross fixed capital formation      20.4      12.5   -5.4
  Foreign trade balance                                   
   Exports of goods and services     8.0        2.4   -0.3
   Imports of goods and services     7.8        3.2   -0.8
 
 
        
    Details at slovak.statistics.sk
        
** To monitor Slovak economic data releases in the Eikon app and
view historical data click: here

($1 = 0.8592 euros)

    
 (Reporting by Robert Muller
Editing by David Goodman)
  
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