Economic engine continues to purr
Ljubljana, 5 December - The recovery of Slovenia's economy continued apace in 2017, with GDP on track to finally reaching pre-crisis levels driven by strong external demand and robust domestic consumption. GDP grew 4.5% year-on-year in the third quarter and was projected to expand by well over 4% for the entire year, the pace far outstripping the EU and eurozone average. This was coupled by robust increases in exports, which were up 12.7% year-on-year in the first three quarters, industrial output, which grew 7% in the same period, and buoyant business and consumer confidence. Meanwhile, inflation remained subdued, reaching 1.2% at the annual level in November. General government deficit approached balanced position and was projected to go into surplus in 2018. Debt, which surged during the economic crisis, was reduced by about three percentage points over 2016 to just over 75%. The treasury borrowed EUR 5.3bn in 2017, but it spent a significant share of the funds rolling over high-yielding debt to reduce interest payments.