Messages related with coronavirus

04/02/2020 / Press release

At the Bank of Slovenia we have been closely monitoring and analysing the ongoing coronavirus situation ever since the outbreak of the novel virus. We have always said that the situation needs to be taken extremely seriously, and for this reason we began drawing up a number of different scenarios weeks ago. We can provide reassurance that all key processes are working as intended. In the preparation of measures, we are working with the government and with the commercial banks and other institutions.

Smaller decline in economic activity in second wave of epidemic than in first wave

26 February 2021
During the second wave of the epidemic, economic growth in Slovenia slowed in the final quarter of last year, similarly to the euro area overall, but the slowdown was significantly less than in the first wave, despite the worse epidemiological data. The situation remains slightly better than in the euro area overall, and with it the starting position for the recovery after the epidemic eases. Banka Slovenije also finds the labour market not to have deteriorated significantly, amid the extension of the government measures. For now the anti-crisis measures have helped to preserve the majority of economic potential, which will provide the basis for the recovery after the epidemic eases, but this has had a profound impact on the fiscal position.
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Moratorium arrangements

18 February 2021
A major anti-crisis measure agreed at the European level at the outbreak of the pandemic was the possibility of claiming a moratorium on the repayment of loans raised with financial institutions by businesses and individuals, under more favourable regulatory treatment for banks. 
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Monthly report on bank performance, February 2021

17 February 2021
The banking system was operating in truly exceptional circumstances in 2020, and the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic will continue to be reflected in its performance in the future. Despite the downturn in business conditions, the banking system recorded relatively high profits in the amount of EUR 472 million, down just a fifth on the previous year, largely as a result of a one-off effect from the merger of two banks. Without this effect, profit would have been down more than a half on 2019. The increase in sight deposits by the non-banking sector continued. The main decline was in corporate loans, but consumer loans also continued to decline. Growth in housing loans remained at a similar rate to previous months. The banking system is otherwise still maintaining a good capital and liquidity position.
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Extension and adjustment of measure restricting profit distribution by banks and savings banks

12 february 2021
Banka Slovenije has extended and adjusted the macroprudential measure temporarily restricting profit distributions by banks and savings banks during the adverse conditions brought about by the coronavirus epidemic. That measure will apply until the end of this September. The measure remains binding in the part that relates to payment of profits in the form of dividends, share buybacks or the use of profits for other purposes, with certain exceptions permitted. Banka Slovenije has amended the part relating to restrictions on the payment of variable remuneration to defined groups of employees, making it a recommendation. In this way, we are following the recommendations of the ESRB, ECB and the Financial Stability Board, while taking into account the specifics of the Slovenian banking system.
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Risks to the banking system remain elevated going into 2021; strong impact from government emergency measures

5 February 2021
Amid the economic adversity, the risks to financial stability remain profoundly elevated going into 2021, with Banka Slovenije highlighting income risk and credit risk in particular. Here we should reiterate that the situation might have been significantly worse without the fast and comprehensive economic policy response. Alongside the ECB monetary policy measures and additional Banka Slovenije measures, the government emergency measures are also having an impact on bank performance. By the end of January the banks had received 28,082 loan moratorium applications from borrowers. The majority of the moratoria will expire in the coming months of this year, when pressure on credit risk in the banking system is expected to rise. A total of 86 corporate loans in the total amount of EUR 71.9 million have been approved to date under the government guarantee scheme.
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Coronavirus epidemic also reflected in firms’ access to financing

27 January 2021
Firms have assessed the situation last year in the area of financing, which was profoundly affected by the coronavirus epidemic, as worse than in the previous years. A survey of firms conducted by Banka Slovenije has revealed a positive financial gap at firms of all types, irrespective of size. The demand for financial resources outstripped access to them. Firms expect similar trends to continue this year. In connection with the coronavirus epidemic, firms are reporting adjustments to operating costs, and large-scale take-up of various forms of government support.
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Governor’s statement following the ECB’ monetary policy meeting

22 January 2021
In the face of the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic situation in euro area countries, Slovenia included, remains serious. In contrast to the first wave, when industry also suffered a major decline, it is mainly services that have been hit in the current winter wave. The situation on the financial markets remains stable, amid the monetary policy support put in place by the Governing Council last year. There was also an improvement in government borrowing terms in Slovenia, and Slovenian banks have been allowed to provide favourable financing conditions for businesses and households.
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During epidemic changed payment patterns of consumers

19 January 2021
The spread of Covid-19 and comprehensive preventive measures to contain it have been reflected in part in the payment patterns of consumers at points of sale. In a special analysis, Banka Slovenije finds that the behavioural patterns of consumers in connection with the use of cash and payment cards from the first wave of the epidemic have been largely repeated during the second wave: the amounts of individual withdrawals at ATMs, which are now used less often, have risen, the use of payment cards has declined due to the partial closure of the economy, and the proportion of online purchases has risen. The only exception is demand for cash for precautionary reasons. That demand rose sharply during the first wave of the epidemic, while consumers have responded more calmly during the second wave.
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Amid the bad epidemiological picture, the economic situation remained difficult at the end of the year

12 January 2021
It is increasingly evident that economic activity in different countries is being shaped by their approaches to dealing with the epidemic and the success of these approaches. While some countries (China, India, Brazil, US) saw an improvement in the economic picture at the end of the year, the situation worsened again in most of the countries of continental Europe. In Slovenia too the bad epidemiological situation required the re-tightening of containment measures, which mostly affected services, in contrast to the first wave, when industry also suffered a major decline. Thanks to the government’s emergency measures, the situation on the domestic labour market remained better than the euro area average. In its Economic and Financial Developments publication released today, Banka Slovenije also finds that the extensive anti-crisis measures significantly worsened the fiscal position last year, although debt levels remained lower than in the euro area overall.
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Monthly report on bank performance, January 2021

11 January 2021
Despite the aggravation of epidemiological situation and deterioration of business conditions, the banking system generated relatively high profits until November 2020 due to one-off effect of the merger of two banks. Profit before tax lagged behind the previous year by less than a fifth, and without a one-off event, it would have been lower by as much as 53.9 %. The contraction in corporate and consumer loans continued, while housing loans continued to grow. Banks’ capital and liquidity position remained good.
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Monthly report on bank performance, December 2020

16 December 2020
Business conditions are sharply tightening as the epidemiological and consequently economic situation deteriorates. Nevertheless, banks mostly operated at a relatively high profit in the first ten months of the year. Pre-tax profit in the period January-October 2020 amounted to EUR 454 million, or only 17% less than in the same period last year, but a significant part of the relatively favourable result is due to a one-off effect.
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Sharp decline in economic activity this year, 3.1% growth next year

15 December 2020
Banka Slovenije is forecasting Slovenia to record a sharp decline in economic activity this year (of 7.6%) as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, before a recovery next year (with growth of 3.1%). In the macroeconomic projections released today, we emphasise that the realisation of this forecast will primarily depend on the success of the rollout of the vaccine. The economic contraction has been profoundly mitigated by economic policy stimulus measures, without which this year’s decline in economic activity would be a third larger. Government measures have also played a large role in maintaining stability on the labour market: thanks to these measures, unemployment is expected to rise by less than previously projected. Consumer price inflation will be negative this year, but price pressures are expected to gradually rise after the epidemiological situation improves, thus strengthening inflation.
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Banking system during the coronavirus pandemic

9 December 2020
In the difficult situation brought by the coronavirus pandemic, the economies of the euro area and of Slovenia are facing a decline in activity. In this situation bank performance is declining: the banking system remains profitable, but next year and, in particular, the following years are expected to see a deterioration in credit portfolio quality and growing pressure on bank profitability.
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Good economic growth in third quarter; renewed slowdown expected in final quarter

30 November 2020
After the lifting of the most stringent containment measures, economic growth in the third quarter of this year rose sharply as expected. The vast majority of sectors saw an improvement, although the strength of the recovery began to weaken even over the course of the quarter. Banka Slovenije expects there to be a significant renewed decline in activity in the final quarter of this year, amid the reimposition of the lockdown, albeit less pronounced than during the first wave of the epidemic.
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Renewed economic downturn in the final quarter, albeit slightly smaller than in the spring

25 November 2020
The economic situation in the euro area took a renewed downturn going into the final quarter of this year. Banka Slovenije expects a significant decline in activity in the final quarter amid the reimposition of lockdowns in numerous euro area countries, albeit not as pronounced as in the second quarter of this year. The growth forecasts for 2021 are also being cut. The economic situation is similarly deteriorating again in Slovenia, and the labour market recovery has come to an end. Government job retention subsidies for firms and assistance for vulnerable population groups are widening the state budget deficit, which is nevertheless forecast to remain at the euro area average level.
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Monthly report on bank performance, November 2020

10 November 2020
Profit of the banking system, generated in the first nine months of this year, lagged behind last year's in the same period by a fifth. With the worsening of the situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the conditions for generating bank revenues worsened; costs of impairments and provisions increased as well. After months of decline, all major lending segments rose slightly in September – corporate loans increased for the first time since March this year, while loans to households have been growing since July. Liquid assets increased; the share of non-performing exposures once again decreased. The liquidity and capital position of the banking system remains good.
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Governor’s statement following the ECB’ monetary policy meeting

20 October 2020
The epidemiological situation in Europe, including in Slovenia, is undergoing a sustained deterioration. The economic recovery has consequently lost momentum in recent weeks. Amid a less pronounced downturn on the financial markets, the risks to the realisation of the June economic growth forecasts are increasing on a daily basis. The Governing Council of the ECB has taken a number of steps to provide monetary policy stimulus over the course of the year, and yesterday our assessment was that these were still providing sufficient support for the euro area economy even in the adverse situation. We will examine the situation again at the December meeting, when new economic projections will be ready, and will adjust our measures as circumstances dictate.
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More than 24,000 applications for the deferral of loan repayments; EUR 390 million in corporate liquidity loans approved

26 October 2020
The economic recovery that began following the easing of the first wave of infections in May has lost momentum in recent weeks. The situation would have been significantly worse without a rapid and comprehensive economic policy response. As might be expected, these circumstances are being reflected in bank activities. March saw the entry into force of a law allowing the deferral of borrowers’ loan repayments. The banks have received 24,622 applications from borrowers to date. Some three-quarters of the applications were submitted in the first month that the new law was in force, after which the number slowly stabilised in line with the situation. A law facilitating corporate lending backed by a government guarantee was adopted in April. A total of 23 loans backed by a government guarantee in the amount of EUR 30.9 million have been approved to date. It should be emphasised that the banks have approved 1,069 applications from firms for new liquidity loans in connection with the coronavirus during this period, with a total exposure of slightly less than EUR 390 million.
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Economic recovery loses momentum; measures help keep labour market solid

21 October 2020
The economic recovery in the euro area has lost momentum in the autumn, as a result of the growing deterioration in the epidemiological situation. At Banka Slovenije our assessment is that the crisis in the euro area would be significantly deeper without the countercyclical response from economic policy, the like of which is unprecedented in peacetime. The situation is very similar in Slovenia, where the outlook has deteriorated rapidly in recent weeks. The new Economic and Financial Developments reiterates that the situation on the labour market remains solid for now, under the influence of the government’s emergency measures.
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Monthly report on bank performance

9 October 2020
Banks operated with a significantly lesser profit until August 2020 in comparison to the same period last year. Deteriorated situation of the economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic will, together with low interest rates, affect banks' activities also in the future. Despite the unfavourable economic conditions, the banks will most probably operate with a profit until the end of the year.
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Financial Stability Review: Systemic risks to financial stability have increased sharply

6 October 2020
The risks to financial stability have increased sharply as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which constitutes a profound shock to the Slovenian economy and the global economy. Alongside the high risk to financial stability coming from the weakened macroeconomic environment, Banka Slovenije is also highlighting the elevated income risk and credit risk at banks, who have suffered a sharp deterioration in their business conditions. In these circumstances the quick, wide-ranging policy action at national and supranational levels in earlier months was particularly important, calming global financial markets and making a key contribution to the financing conditions in euro area countries remaining favourable. Partly as a result of the actions taken, the banks’ resilience to risk remains high, amid a sound capital and liquidity position, according to the findings of the Financial Stability Review presented today. 
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Significant decline in economic activity in the second quarter; initial figures point to recovery over the remainder of the year

31 August 2020
As expected, the decline in economic activity in Slovenia in the second quarter was worse than at the height of the previous crisis in 2009. Following another large quarterly decline, GDP in the second quarter was down 13.0% in year-on-year terms, 3.1 percentage points more than in the second quarter of 2009, but slightly less than the euro area average.
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Banks are lending to firms to address the Covid-19 crisis; first loans under the guarantee scheme

17 July 2020
The outbreak of the virus and the containment measures brought a sharp economic downturn in March, which reached its bottom in April. More encouraging signs began to appear at the end of the second quarter, and the outlook remains more favourable. As might be expected, these circumstances have been reflected in bank activities.
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Drop in economic activity sharpest in April; labour market heavily affected by emergency measures

8 June 2020
The forecasts of international institutions continue to worsen slightly. According to the latest OECD and IMF forecasts, this year’s decline in global GDP is expected to be significantly larger than during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, and the forecasts for the euro area are particularly bad. On the other hand, certain figures in recent weeks have been better than expected and indicate the possibility of a relatively quick rebound. As expected, the drop in domestic activity in Slovenia was sharpest in April according to short-term indicators, while the outlook for the second half of the year is more favourable. In its recent Economic and Financial Developments, Banka Slovenije also finds that the labour market, which remains heavily affected by government emergency measures, has deteriorated significantly.
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Economic downturn caused by coronavirus reflected in bank performance

7 July 2020
The banking system is doing business in the harsh environment caused by the Covid-19 epidemic and the lockdown measures, and this is being reflected in bank performance. Growth in household loans has halved, while growth in corporate loans is also gradually slowing. Corporate and household deposits are still increasing, primarily on account of reduced spending, and partly as a result of government payments to alleviate the impact of the epidemic.
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23,700 applications for borrowers’ moratorium at banks in first three months

7 July 2020
Banka Slovenije can report that during the first three months of the law being in force, banks received 23,700 applications from borrowers for a moratorium on repayments, equivalent to 3.6% of total loans. The vast majority of applications, fully three-quarters, were received by banks during the law’s first month in force. We can also report that banks have already processed over 91% of the applications received, the vast majority of which have been approved.
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Lower deflation in June; great uncertainty over price developments in the coming months

30 June 2020
The lifting of the measures to contain and control the coronavirus epidemic, and the rebooting of large parts of the economy were reflected in a smaller fall in consumer prices in June compared with the two previous months. Amid the recent deterioration in the epidemiological picture and the reimposition of certain measures, future consumer price developments remain uncertain. Given the deflationary pressures caused by falling private demand and the absence of major cost pressures, Banka Slovenije expects inflation to remain weak this year.
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Downturn in bank performance as the economy struggles

18 June 2020
The Slovenian banking system is doing business in the face of a sharp decline in economic indicators caused by the Covid-19 epidemic and the lockdown measures. The Monthly report on bank performance finds that the situation has been reflected on the investment side of the balance sheet in a slowdown in credit activity: loans to households and corporates alike have declined. On the funding side, deposits by the non-banking sector are increasing. According to the data available to date, there has been no deterioration yet in the quality of the credit portfolio, but this is expected in the following quarters. Amid the anticipated deterioration in the portfolio and the contraction in the economy, the banks are again creating net impairments and provisions after several years of net release.
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Stabilisation over the next two years following this year’s contraction in the economy

8 June 2020
Banka Slovenije is expecting a profound contraction in economic activity this year, but the situation should stabilise over the next two years. The baseline scenario forecasts a 6.5% decline in GDP this year, before growth resumes, reaching 4.9% and 3.6% over the next two years. A sharp downturn is expected on the labour market, before a gradual recovery over the next two years. These are the key findings from the Macroeconomic Projections for Slovenia presented today. Another highlight is that given the great uncertainty triggered by the Covid-19 epidemic, two alternative scenarios are presented alongside the baseline forecast.
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22,500 applications for borrowers’ moratorium at banks in first two months

1 June 2020
Banka Slovenije can report that during the first two months of the new law being in force, banks received 22,500 applications from borrowers for a moratorium on repayments, equivalent to 3.4% of total loans. The vast majority of applications were received by banks during the first month of the new law being in force. Our assessment is that future developments in the number of applications will depend primarily on progress in reigniting the economy in a situation where numerous economic indicators have plummeted in both the international and domestic environments.
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Deflation continues in May; price measurement proves challenging in extraordinary circumstances

29 May 2020
Driven by the epidemic, Slovenia continued to record deflation in May. It stood at 1.4%, a significant part of which was attributable to falling energy prices. Banka Slovenije should nevertheless draw attention to the lower reliability of the consumer price figures during the extraordinary circumstances of the coronavirus epidemic. The absence of a market and the inability to conduct fieldwork are causing problems in the collection of price data, and in certain sectors it is completely absent. The structure of consumption has also shifted significantly in the extraordinary circumstances.
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Banks will be able to temporarily exclude declines in income caused by epidemic when calculating creditworthiness

22 May 2020
Banks will be allowed to exclude months that see a temporary decline in income as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic from their calculations of consumer creditworthiness. In dealing with the extraordinary situation of the struggle against the Covid-19 epidemic, Banka Slovenije has made adjustments to its current rules stipulating that income over the preceding year is taken into account in the calculation of a consumer’s annual income before a new loan agreement is signed. The changes enter into force on 1 June 2020.
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Restrictions on profit distribution at leasing companies

20 May 2020
Having recently adopted a macroprudential measure restricting profit distributions by banks and savings banks, Banka Slovenije has issued a recommendation extending similar guidance to leasing companies. The epidemic crisis, which has hit Slovenia too, will have major economic consequences, which are certain to also have an impact on leasing companies. The purpose of the recommendation is ensuring that leasing companies retain the highest possible level of capitalisation. It is expected to be in place for one year.
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The banking system came into the crisis in good shape; the deterioration during the crisis will depend on its duration and depth

19 May 2020
Banka Slovenije’s assessment is that the banking system was in good shape as it entered the crisis caused by coronavirus. Given the sheer magnitude of the shock and the huge decline in economic activity, the banking system’s liquidity position will deteriorate over time, while the downward pressure on capital adequacy will increase. Banka Slovenije drew up two scenarios to assess the banking system’s readiness for the crisis: under the assumption of a decline of around 6% in economic activity, the banking system could approach zero profitability. In the event of a deep recession, the banking system’s capacity to absorb the adverse effects through surplus capital would be strongly diminished.
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March sees large decline in services trade, as travel segment contracts by more than half

14 May 2020
The initial indicators confirm that the economy took a sharp downturn going into the second quarter. Banka Slovenije can report that international trade fell significantly in March, largely as a result of the measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic introduced at home and abroad in that month. With merchandise imports declining by even more than merchandise exports, the merchandise trade surplus strengthened again. The measures hit trade in services particularly hard, most notably imports and exports of travel services.
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22,230 applications for borrowers’ moratorium in first month

11 May 2020
Banka Slovenije can report that during the first month that the new law was in force (to the beginning of May), banks received 22,230 applications from borrowers for a moratorium on repayments, equivalent to 3.3% of total loans. Our assessment is that future developments in the number of applications will depend primarily on the possibilities for reigniting the economy afforded by the coronavirus situation.
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Governor’s statement following the ECB’s monetary policy meeting

1 May 2020
Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the measures taken by governments to curb its spread, the euro area economy has taken a sharp downturn. Given the fall in GDP even in the first quarter, and the further deterioration expected, the euro area will end the year with a large decline in GDP. In this situation the central bank governors judged that there is a need for additional monetary policy stimulus, and highlighted the urgent need for more-ambitious, better-coordinated fiscal policy measures at the European level.
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Restrictions on profit distribution at banks and savings banks

8 April 2020
The Bank of Slovenia has adopted a macroprudential measure placing temporary restrictions on banks and savings banks in their profit distribution. The purpose of the measure is to retain capital so that the banking system is better able to withstand potential losses, and to continue supplying credit to businesses and households. The measure is expected to be in place for one year, although the Bank of Slovenia will closely monitor the situation, and will modify the measure as appropriate should the risks increase or decrease significantly.
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FAQs in connection with the Emergency Deferral of Borrowers’ Liabilities Act (ZIUOPOK)

7 April 2020
The Emergency Deferral of Borrowers’ Liabilities Act (ZIUOPOK) was adopted at the proposal of the government. Its exact manner of implementation is a business decision for the commercial banks. To help borrowers, the Bank of Slovenia has drawn up answers to a number of frequently asked questions, in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance, which drafted the new law. For any more detailed questions, please contact the ministry.
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Implementation of the PEPP

1 April 2020
On 18 March 2020 the Governing Council of the ECB instituted the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP), a new, temporary programme with an overall envelope of EUR 750 billion, equivalent to 6% of euro area GDP. Purchases under the new programme began on 26 March 2020, and will be conducted until the end of this year.
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Slovenian economy to pay a high price in the fight against coronavirus

31 March 2020
The Bank of Slovenia’s assessment is that the price to the Slovenian economy exacted by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic is very likely to exceed that of the last global financial crisis. In analysis entitled Impact of coronavirus on the Slovenian economy, we outlined three potential scenarios of future developments, and calculated their potential impact on the economy.
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Publication Assessing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the Slovenian economic outlook
 

ECB recommendation to banks to refrain from dividend payments until October at least

30 March 2020
Last Friday ECB adopted a recommendation whereby, in light of the coronavirus crisis, banks should wait at least until October 2020 before paying dividends or undertaking share buy-backs.
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The Bank of Slovenia has extended all of the ECB measures to less significant banks and savings banks

24 March 2020
The Governing Council of the ECB, among them Boštjan Vasle, Governor of the Bank of Slovenia, have over recent days reaffirmed their commitment to doing everything possible to help citizens face the current uncertain situation. Additional measures were taken to support families, businesses and governments.
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Clarification for borrowers following the adoption of the Emergency Deferral of Borrowers’ Liabilities Act

23 March 2020
The law provides for the deferral of credit liabilities for firms, sole traders, cooperatives, farmers and also other individuals. Loan restructuring, which to date has been an option available by agreement between banks and borrower, is thus made mandatory by the law.
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Governor’s statement following last night’s meeting of the Governing Council of the ECB

19 March 2020
Recent days have seen the economic slowdown caused by the spread of coronavirus joined by profound uncertainty on the financial markets. The governments of individual countries and, in particular, collective international institutions have therefore been taking intensive action to deal with the uncertain situation. At last night’s meeting of the Governing Council of the ECB, we approved an additional package of measures to help households, businesses and governments.
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No disruption to key processes; the Bank of Slovenia is also helping to draw up measures for bridging liquidity difficulties

18 March 2020
The Bank of Slovenia has long felt that the coronavirus situation needs to be taken extremely seriously. Because our responsibilities include processes that are vital to the smooth functioning of the government and the whole country, we began working on various scenarios several weeks ago. We can therefore provide assurance that all key processes are working as intended, and will continue to do so even if the situation worsens.
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Banks and savings banks change their working hours

16 March 2020
The Bank of Slovenia supports them in their preventive measures to protect their staff and their customers.
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Governor’s statement following the ECB’s monetary policy meeting

13 March 2020
The previously known risks to economic growth in Slovenia and the entire euro area have been joined this year by the escalating uncertainty surrounding coronavirus. The Bank of Slovenia’s assessment is that the impact will be largest in manufacturing and in services, most notably transport and tourism.
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