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Last Updated: Monday, 28 November 2005, 19:39 GMT
Slovakian crown hits high on euro
Map of Slovakia
Slovakia has been successful in attracting overseas investment
The Slovak crown hit an eight-month high against the euro on Monday in the first day of trading since Slovakia joined the Exchange Rate Mechanism.

With the crown now tied to the euro, it traded at 37.8 per euro, compared to 38.5 at the close of trading on Friday.

The value of the crown is now limited to movements of no more than 15% up or down from a core 38.45 per euro level.

Slovakia is the first of the big four East European countries that joined the EU in 2004 to enter the ERM.

The other three are the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary.

Car plants

Being part of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) also means Slovakia must now stick to strict limits on public deficits, debt, inflation and interest rates.

Slovakia said it now aims to adopt the euro in 2009.

The Czech Republic said it had no timetable as yet to join the ERM. Analysts said Poland and Hungary appeared to wish to concentrate first and foremost on economic growth rather than early ERM membership.

Slovakia's economy has grown strongly since it joined the EU in 2004, attracting the lion's share of foreign investment into the EU's new Eastern European members.

It has been particularly successful in the automotive sector, with firms such as Peugeot-Citroen, Kia Motors, Ford, Hyundai and Volkswagen all opening plants in Slovakia.

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