Bratislava, Slovakia – The Slovak economy is going through a rough patch.
According to data released last week by the Slovak statistical office, Slovakia’s annual GDP growth has slowed down to 1.3% in the third quarter 2019 – its lowest level since the end of 2013 – and down 3.3 percentage points compared to the same period last year.
After reporting a year-on-year GDP growth rate of 3.8% in the first three months of the year and 2.2% in the second quarter, Slovakia’s economy is slowing down, fast.
Faced, among other things, with the precipitous slowdown of the Eurozone and its main economic partner, Germany, the looming threat of Brexit and trade disruptions undermining its export-driven growth model, Slovakia remains extremely vulnerable to external chocs, probably more so than its Central European neighbours.
In September, Slovakia’s Finance Ministry already revised downwards its economic forecast for 2019 and 2020, followed, a few weeks later, by the National Bank, that warned that the domestic economy was “going downhill”.
“Our obligation is not to panic and not to deepen it”, Central Bank Governor Peter Kazimir said. “We’re convinced it is totally out of place to talk about a crisis and recession”.
Most analysts agree that it is, indeed, far too early to talk about recession. But after ranking as one of the EU’s top performers, Slovakia appears to have entered a phase of slower growth, most notably when compared with the performances of its Polish and Hungarian neighbours – the two fastest-growing economies in Europe.