Since 1995, the Slovakian koruna has been generally convertible to other currencies on the world market for trading purposes. In January 2000, it was being exchanged at the rate of 42.059 korunas to the U.S. dollar, up from 29.713 in 1995. The Slovak National Bank serves as the country's central bank and sets monetary policy . It is designed to be autonomous from political structures. In spite of the bank's generally responsible policies to curb inflation , the currency has been in a slow state of decline for several years. As a result, imported products are becoming increasingly harder for Slovaks to afford. In addition to the central bank, there are 2 agencies to assist banks and companies through the bankruptcy process.
The privatization of banks in Slovakia has been a complicated process, and the state retained shares in the 3 strongest banks as of 1999. In that year, the government began a program to reduce the amount of state ownership in the banking sector (a holdover from the communist system) and to increase the amount of private ownership of banking. This restructuring is understood as a crucial step in the transition to a market economic system. There is also a growing amount of foreign investment and ownership in the banking sector. This process corresponds with the country's efforts to prepare for future integration into the financial structures of the European Union.
The Bratislava Stock Exchange is the seat of much of the securities trading in the Slovak Republic. There is also an electronic exchange market called the RM-system, also for the trade of securities. A database of all listed companies is maintained by the Center of Securities of the Slovak Republic, a joint-stock company.
|Exchange rates: Slovakia|
|koruny (Sk) per US$1|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].|
|GDP per Capita (US$)|
|SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.|