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BUDAPEST/PRAGUE: Central Europe’s economies fared better than expected in the first quarter, data showed on Tuesday, with industry buoying activity through Covid-19 lockdowns and priming a recovery as the car sector pushed Slovakia back to year-on-year growth.

In Hungary, where the central bank has flagged a possible interest rate hike as the economy rebounds from the pandemic, gross domestic product shrank by an annual 2.3%, less than a forecast of 3.7%.

Romania’s economy, too, slipped less than expected on a year-on-year basis, contracting 0.2%.

Slovakia performed best, eking out a 0.3% rise for its first growth in four quarters.

Poland last week reported a 1.2% contraction for the first quarter while the Czech economy fell 2.1%.

Tuesday’s data was preliminary, and detailed breakdowns will be released in the coming month.

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