Autos drive Slovakian output, exports: official data

Industrial production in Slovakia rose by 10.3 percent on an adjusted basis in 2012 after a rise of 7.2 percent in 2011, official data showed on Friday, with the auto industry pushing up activity and exports.

In the month of December, industrial output fell by 4.4 percent from the level in November owing to a 10.0-percent fall of auto production.

However, the auto industry increased its output by 43.6 percent overall last year and this pushed up the annual figure for the industrial sector.

The increased auto output came from factories operated by German group Volkswagen, the French PSA Peugeot Citroen company and Kia of South Korea, the statistics office which produced the data said.

The car industry achieved record production of 900,000 vehicles in the year, trade data shows.

But analysts note that even if the auto plants continue to operate at full capacity this year as last, this would point to zero growth of industrial output for the whole of 2013.

The electronics industry, another main force in the economy owing to South Korean company Samsung and the Taiwanese group Foxconn, raised output by 1.8 percent last year. This small increase reflected a fall in demand for televisions using LCD technology and made locally.

Exports by Slovakia rose by 10.5 percent last year after an increase of 17.5 percent in 2011 and imports rose by 6.0 percent after a rise of 17.4 percent, the statistics office said.

Slovakia joined the European Union in 2004 and the eurozone in 2009.

Its economy depends heavily on exports mainly to Germany to which it supplies notably vehicles and electronic goods.