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NBS Monthly Bulletin, April 2012 - Summary

The annual rate of euro area inflation as measured by the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices was 2.7% in March, unchanged from its level in the previous month. The exchange rate of the euro against the US dollar depreciated during March in comparison with February. At its meeting on 4 April 2012, the ECB’s Governing Council decided to leave the key ECB interest rates unchanged, with the main refinancing rate standing at 1.00%, the marginal lending rate at 1.75% and the deposit rate at 0.25%.

In the Czech Republic, annual HICP inflation increased in March in comparison with the previous month, to 4.2%, while in Hungary and Poland it declined, respectively, to 5.5% and 3.9%. The Czech koruna appreciated against the euro in March on a month-on-month basis, but the Hungarian forint and Polish zloty both lost ground against the single currency. None of the central banks of these central European countries adjusted their monetary-policy settings in March; Česká národní banka left its key rate at 0.75%, Narodowy Bank Polski at 4.50%, and the Magyar Nemzeti Bank at 7.00%.

In Slovakia, annual HICP inflation in March decelerated month-on-month, to 3.9%. This reflected lower annual rates of change in prices for energy and services, which were counterbalanced to some extent by higher inflation in prices of non-energy industrial goods and food. Industrial producer price inflation recorded a further month-on-month increase in February, based mainly on a marked rise in the energy component (across all energy categories). Annual agricultural price inflation increased in February in comparison with the previous month, while construction price inflation declined.

The balance of payments current account surplus increased in February from its level in the previous month, due mainly to a higher trade surplus as well as to improvements in all other current account components. The annual growth rate of the industrial production index was substantially higher in February than in January. The component accounting for most of this increase was manufacture of transport equipment, and there was also a positive contribution from manufacture of basic metals and fabricated metal products. By contrast, manufacture of electrical equipment had a dampening effect on industrial production growth. Construction production recorded a lower annual decline in February. Increased annual sales growth in the sectors of industry, wholesale trade, and sale and maintenance of motor vehicles was to some extent offset by lower sales growth in transportation and storage sector. Construction sector sales again declined year-on-year. The overall Economic Sentiment Indicator in March fell in year-on-year terms, but increased in comparison with the previous month, with all ESI components making a positive contribution.

Annual growth in the average nominal wage was lower in February than in January, reflecting lower wage growth in the sectors of information and communication, industry, and transportation and storage. Employment declined year-on-year in February, but the drop was lower than in the previous month mainly due to higher employment growth in the information and communication sector. The rate of registered unemployment increased month-on-month in February, to stand at 13.8%.

Looking at private sector deposits in February there was an increase in the stock of deposits from both non-financial corporations and households. Deposits from non-financial corporations rose sharply in comparison with the previous month, with increases across all maturities and the most marked growth in demand deposits and deposits with up to two years’ agreed maturity. As a result, the stock of corporate deposits recorded a lower year-on-year decline. As for household deposits there was a rising trend across most maturities, with the highest growth in deposits with up to two years’ maturity and in the most liquid deposits. The annual rate of growth in the stock of household deposits again increased from the previous month, to reach its highest level since the end of 2009. Lending to non-financial corporations and to households increased only moderately in February. In the case of loans to non-financial corporations, a rise in the stock of loans with a maturity of between one and five years was partly offset by a decline in loans with a maturity of over five years. The annual rate of growth in lending to non-financial corporations declined moderately. Looking at lending to the household sector, an increase in the stock of housing loans was almost completely counterbalanced by a decline in consumer credit and other loans. The annual rate of growth in loans to households remained virtually unchanged from the previous month. Lending rates for non-financial corporations did not change significantly in February. As regards lending rates for households, they developed differently; the most notable movement was an increase in consumer credit rates. Deposit rates for non-financial corporations maintained a moderate downward trend, while those for households remained basically unchanged.

The full text of the Slovak version of the NBS Monthly Bulletin for April 2012 will be published on 25 April 2012 at 10.00 a.m.

Jana Kováčová
Head of the Press and Editorial Section

National Bank of Slovakia
Press and Editorial Section
Imricha Karvasa 1, 813 25 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Tel.: +421-2-5787 2142, +421-2-5865 2142, +421-2-5787 2169, +421-2-5865 2169

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