Stats Office: Industry Up in December, But Slumped in Whole of 2020

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An operator disinfecting a production line. (Stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, February 10 (TASR) – Industrial production in Slovakia in December 2020 rose faster than in any other month of the year, but for the whole of 2020 the sector slumped by 9.1 percent when compared to 2019, the Statistics Office reported on Wednesday.Industrial output in Slovakia recovered in November and December despite the escalating second wave of COVID-19. This was preceded by nine months in the red. In December, industrial production increased by 6.8 percent year-on-year.

After seasonal adjustments, industrial output in December decreased by 0.3 percent month-on-month.

Slovakia’s industry in December 2020 was pulled up by the export sectors, said UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia analyst Lubomir Korsnak.

“The processing industry, mainly its export-oriented part, recovered to a significant extent at the end of the year. Annual production growth accelerated from 0.5 percent to 5.9 percent, while most export sectors grew by much as around 10 percent,” said Korsnak.

Metallurgy continued its strong recovery trend from previous months, being facilitated by customs payments imposed on cheap Asian imports, and so it preserved a double-digit annual growth in December (12.8 percent). It was joined by the engineering sector (17.2 percent), which back in November posted an annual drop.

The overall figures were pulled down by a volatile refinery sector (minus 24.3 percent y-o-y in December). This was one of two processing sectors reporting an annual increase in output for 2020 as a whole.

“It seems that industry is resisting the second wave of the pandemic relatively successfully. Nevertheless, sentiment in industry in January (mainly in expectations) indicated that a correction in the next few months couldn’t be ruled out,” said Korsnak.

According to the analyst, Slovakia will much depend on the current condition of its key automotive industry, which is expected to suffer somewhat in the first two months of the year due to a lack of chips. In addition, sales data from Germany and Britain indicate a slump, but this could be offset by demand for SUVs on the Chinese market.

WOOD & Company analyst Eva Sadovska noted that industrial output in December recorded the highest monthly increase since April 2019.