May 19, 2020 / 8:15 AM / 12 days ago

Slovakia expects 2020 budget deficit to swell to 8.4% of GDP

BRATISLAVA, May 19 (Reuters) - Slovakia’s budget deficit could swell to 8.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 as it fights the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, a finance ministry report showed.

The report, approved by the government on Monday, said the deficit could stay at about 6% of GDP over 2021-2023 without any consolidation measures.

“Fiscal goals and the need for (further) measures will be updated if changes are necessary due to high uncertainty over future economic development,” the ministry’s report said.

The budget deficit reached 2.42 billion euros ($2.65 billion) at the end of April, already nearing the full-year deficit target.

The country had aimed to cut this year’s budget deficit to 0.49% of GDP, from 1.3%, but plans have been upended by the virus outbreak as measures to contain it shut shops and many factories are idled.

The ministry expects the economy to shrink by a record 7.2% this year.

Slovakia has reported far fewer cases of the novel coronavirus than western neighbours. The total number of cases so far is 1,495 so far, with 1,192 having recovered. The country has recorded 28 deaths. ($1 = 0.9147 euros)

Reporting by Tomas Mrva Editing by David Goodman

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