The economy was expected to grow by 0.8% in 2013 after expanding by 2% in 2012 according to official estimates published in January 2014. In the same month the Austrian bank Erste Group forecast that the economy would grow by 1.7% over the year but warned that Slovakia’s public debt may exceed 57% during the same period, which would oblige the government to prepare a balanced budget for 2015. In December 2013 the finance ministry said that the budget deficit could fall to 2.6% of GDP in 2014, below the target of 2.9%, as a result of the country’s consolidation efforts. According to the 2014 budget plan, public debt should reach 56.8% of GDP in 2014. In January 2014 official data showed that average inflation fell to 1.4% in 2013, from 3.6% in 2012, on the back of lower energy and food prices. The Slovak central bank has forecast a slight further easing of inflation to 1.2% in 2014. The bank sought to weaken the currency in 2013 to import inflation, thus staving off deflation, and to boost exports.