Bratislava, Slovakia – Slovakia’s National Bank (NBS) has lowered its economic growth forecasts for 2019 and 2020, warning of a significant slowdown.
In a statement released earlier this week, central bankers expect Slovakia’s economy to grow by 2.5% and 2.4% respectively this year and the following, worsening its previous outlooks that estimated the economy to expand by more than 3% in 2019.
According to the governor of the central bank, Peter Kazimir, “the Slovak economy is going downhill at the moment, but there is no abyss on the horizon yet”, stressing that the natural economic downturn had been worsened by negative external factors (growing trade tensions between the U.S. and China, uncertainty linked to Brexit, general slowdown of the Eurozone, etc.).
“Our obligation is not to panic and not to deepen it”, Kazimir added, eager to strike a reassuring tone. “We’re convinced it is totally out of place to talk about a crisis and recession”.
NBS expects growth to pick up again in 2021, with national GDP to expand by 2.7%, according to the Central Bank’s calculations.
This revised forecast comes a few days after the Slovak Ministry of Finance also worsened its economic predictions for 2019 and 2020, citing “weaker prospects among our trading partners” as one of the main factors denting Slovakia’s economic prospects.
According to the EU’s statistical office, the Slovak economy grew by an annual rate of 2.6% in the second quarter of 2019, the lowest among Central European countries, but still well above the bloc (+1.4%) and Eurozone’s average (+1.2%).