At present, the automotive industry remains the key “driver” of the Slovak Republic’s economy, which, in the setting of the crisis, causes a rapid deterioration of macroeconomic indicators, and in the case of stabilization of foreign demand and production conditions – a sharp growth of the Slovak economy.
In June 2021, the Slovak industry offset the decline caused by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Industrial production in Slovakia in June 2021 increased by 13.7% as compared to the same period last year and exceeded the level of production in June 2019 by 4.1%.
On August 3, 2021 at the Slovak-Polish border near the Slovak town Výrava (Medzilaborce region) the physical connection of the Slovak and Polish GTS as the final stage of the project of the interconnector PL-SK. Construction and technical testing of the gas pipeline infrastructure are expected to be completed by the end of this year. The beginning of commercial operation of the PL SK interconnector is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2022.
On June 15, professionals from the country’s oil and gas industry gathered in the Slovak city of Žilina to take part in a traditional event of the Slovak Gas and Oil Association (SPNZ) – a conference on “Operational Reliability and Security of Main Supply Systems of the Slovak Republic – gas, oil, water”. Experts and managers of the key enterprises in the industry discussed aspects of the current state and prospects of hydrocarbon energy in the Slovak Republic within two days.
A feature of the economic crisis in Slovakia, which is developing against the general background of the global economic recession and the COVID-19 pandemic, is the significant dependence of the small, open Slovak economy (the share of foreign trade in GDP reached 85.7% in 2020) on revenues from export in the field of industrial production, primarily automotive.
The economic losses of the Slovak economy in 2020 amounted to 5.2% of GDP or EUR 4,7 billion, which is fully in line with the basic government scenario of the economic situation forecast of the draft state budget for 2021-2023. According to the results of 2020, the Slovak economy includes: construction (-20%), automotive (-18%) and services (-10%).
With relatively small volumes of natural gas transit at the level of 3.8 billion cubic meters (2020), up to 80% of which is used for domestic consumption and insignificant volumes of own production (31 thousand cubic meters, 2020), Bulgaria continues to implement measures for transit gas infrastructure and underground gas storage, trying to strengthen their role in the regional gas market. To this end, the government is making efforts to diversify transit routes and sources of natural gas supply, increase the liquidity of the Bulgarian gas market, improve the terms of the current long-term contract with PJSC Gazprom.
During 2020 the interest of the world’s leading countries and world energy leaders in the use of hydrogen as an energy source grew notwithstanding the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU, India and Canada have adopted national hydrogen strategies, and such important energy market players as Shell, Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil have initiated plans to consolidate in a promising global hydrogen market.
Hydrogen has significant potential for energy transfer and storage, but at the same time has significant technological limitations. First of all, hydrogen is seen as a means of overcoming the functional shortcomings of other alternative energy sources, as well as a promising energy resource for a number of countries, such as Japan, where certain decarbonization options have limited use.
According to our experts, a feature of the economic crisis in Slovakia, which is developing against the general background of the global economic recession and the COVID-19 pandemic, is the significant dependence of the small, open Slovak economy on export earnings in industrial production, especially automotive.
According to our experts, the baseline scenario for further development of economic and epidemiological situation in Slovakia assumes that the ongoing second wave of COVID-19 will be longer than that of spring and will last from the end of the third quarter of 2020 till the middle of the second quarter of 2021. Economic losses of the Slovak economy according to the results of this year can range from 8 to 11% of GDP.
The draft state budget of the Slovak Republic for 2021-2023, developed by the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic, was approved at the meeting of the Slovak government on October 14, 2020 and currently undergoes the process of adopting the relevant law in parliament. The document contains elements of economic forecasting and fiscal planning of the state in the context of the economic crisis that is developing in the Slovak Republic against the background of the global economic recession and the COVID-19 virus pandemic.