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[ClickPress, Thu Nov 28 2013] The 2013 growth forecast for Slovakia was raised to 0.8% from the 0.5% estimated in June by the Finance Ministry. The move is attributed to an improvement in the euro region after six quarters of declines. The rebound has led to a rise in demand for exports, such as cars assembled by the Slovak unit of Volkswagen Group, which will provide welcome news for Slovakia's freight industry.
The improved growth forecast is also supported by an increase in household spending, which was driven by falling inflation and rising consumer confidence. Meanwhile, the ministry has kept the forecast for 2014 growth unchanged at 2.2%, but expects it to rise to 2.9% in 2015.
Emerging Europe as a region faces increased competition from periphery eurozone to capitalise on improving external demand into 2014. Regional economies best placed to meet this challenge are those which have made significant competitiveness gains through fiscal discipline, rather than those who have focused on FX weakness to boost global share of exports.
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This year is set to represent a steadying of the ship in terms of year-on-year (y-o-y) growth across the freight modes after a bad year in 2013. Road freight is set to lead the way with annual growth pencilled in at 2.77% for 2014, slightly ahead of rail freight (2.55%) and air freight (2.00%). 2013 saw the rail and road freight sectors both see y-o-y contractions in growth (3% and 1% respectively) so a return to positive growth is welcome news for the industry.
Headline Industry Data
* 2014 Air freight tonnage throughput is forecast to increase by 2.00%.
* 2014 Rail freight tonnage throughput is forecast to increase by 2.55%.
* 2014 Road freight throughput is forecast to increase by 2.77%.
* 2014 trade growth forecast at 6.41%.
Key Industry Trends
Government Approves ZSSK Cargo Restructuring - The government of Slovakia has given the green light to proposals by the Ministry of Transport regarding restructuring and part-privatising the country's state-owned railway company ZSSK Cargo. The restructuring approval was granted by the government on July 10 and comes as a result of the ZSSK Cargo being hard hit by the global economic recession, as well as the slump in the domestic steel industry.
European Rail Corridor Takes Step Forward - A new broad-gauge freight rail corridor that will run through Slovakia to Vienna, linking some key markets, took another step towards in July 2013 with the coalition entitled Breitspur Planungsgesellschaft (comprising the four national railway firms of Slovakia, Russia, Austria and Ukraine) stating that a tender was soon to be announced relating to design and survey work.
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