The Slovakian automotive industry posted an annual output decline of 51.6% in April, the steepest fall since the current data series started in 1999, compared with a 30.9% fall in March.

The country's biggest car factory, Volkswagen, stopped production for two weeks in April.

"We will not see good figures in car production without Volkswagen going on full steam," a local analyst told Reuters.

Industrial output has fallen for seven months in a row in Slovakia, which joined the euro zone in January, as demand for its cars and electronics goods fades in key western markets.

Reuters noted that the Slovak economy had gone from one of the highest growth rates in the European Union to a 5.6% contraction in gross domestic product in the first quarter.

The government has said it expected economic activity to contract by more than 3.5% this year, more than the 2.4% drop currently forecast by the central bank.