Economic growth remains high despite slower exports
Growth of industrial output and exports was robust over the summer and did not yet reflect the reduction in foreign demand projected by surveys among companies in manufacturing, Banka Slovenije says in its November report on macroeconomic trends.
A drop followed in December, with the year-on-year growth of industrial production decreasing to 0.5%, and growth of exports of goods to 0.8%. The structure of both trends show that numerous industries in manufacturing faced a drop, most prominently those connected with the automotive industry.
The latter is related with a reduction in demand for cars in the EU and China, the central bank adds in the report released on Tuesday.
Imports were up in September after a rather weak August, but only because of higher prices of petroleum products and gas. As expected, the construction activity continued to grow, as did revenue in services related to construction.
Companies report about a shortage of staff, but the growth of employment remains high. The number of active working population in the third quarter, excluding self-employed farmers, was up 3% year-on-year, the report adds.
In October, there were 76,232 unemployed persons in Slovenia, which is 8% less than in the same month last year. While the unemployment rate continues to decrease, the growth of the average net wage in real terms is slowing down.
Banka Slovenije sees a similar trend in the growth of the wage bill. "If it continues, it could worsen the outlook for growth of private consumption as the rate of household savings is already high."
The inflation rate in Slovenia was up again in October, with external factors, including higher prices of energy, contributing the most to the increase, the report says.
The current favourable economic situation is an opportunity to generate a sufficient fiscal surplus in order to reduce the relatively high rate of debt and adopt structural reforms to ensure long-term fiscal stability, Banka Slovenije concluded.