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Slovak economy expands 9.6% in Q4 on export growth

Slovakia's economy expanded an annual 9.6% in the Q4, the third-fastest pace in the European Union, led by export growth from companies such as carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen.

Gross domestic product growth in the final three months of 2006 compared with 9.8% in the third quarter, the Bratislava-based Slovak Statistical Office said today on its Web site. The final figure was little changed from the preliminary 9.5% rate released on February 13. The eastern European country's $60 billion economy was bolstered by rising output at PSA Peugeot Citroen's carmaking plant, which fueled exports.

Domestic demand also grew, helped by rising wages and the creation of new jobs. Exports of goods and services rose 22.6% in the Q4, exceeding a 15.3% increase in imports. Gross capital formation, which in addition to investment includes change in inventories, rose 1.9%, compared with 19.3% in the Q3. Investments were up 7% in year in the Q4, up from 6.7% in the previous three months.

Household-consumption growth slowed to 6.1% from 6.5%, bolstered by a 3.9% growth in average real wages. Government consumption rose 2.3% in the Q4, compared with 1.2% in the previous three months. The office said it expects growth in the H1 of 2007 to reach 8.5%. (Bloomberg)