After contracting by 6.3% in 2020, the economy is projected to grow by around 2.7% in 2021 and 4.3% in 2022. Consumption will recover gradually on the back of higher disposable income, improving labour market conditions and increased household confidence as an effective vaccine is rolled out. Investment growth will be limited by high uncertainty, weakened corporate balance sheets and low capacity utilisation. Unemployment is set to fall gradually, but will remain above pre crisis levels at the end of 2022. Inflation will remain subdued given considerable economic slack.
The sizeable fiscal stimulus has helped prevent a deeper contraction. Fiscal policy should remain supportive in the near term. The recovery package should stimulate short-term demand and boost the long-term growth potential. Improving the digital infrastructure, access to early childhood education and female participation in the labour market is key to strengthening the recovery and making it inclusive.
The Slovak economy remains strong. Employment has reached a record high, and unemployment is at its lowest level since 1993. Short-term growth prospects are good. Thanks to sustained economic growth, almost 4% on average in the last two decades, living standards have converged towards the OECD average, and public debt has declined in relation to GDP. Export-led expansion has been driven by continuing inward investment in the car industry, strong integration into global value chains and resulting improvements in labour productivity. Growth has spilled over into the domestic services sector to some extent, but productivity gains there have been much lower. Strong wage growth is fuelling consumption, inflation and house prices. Household indebtedness has been rising rapidly. The authorities will have to continue to use fiscal and macro-prudential policies to avoid overheating.