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Slovenia Likely new finance minister in favour of bad bank, but in amended form. Mr. Uros Cufer, the likely finance minister in the new government of PM designate Alenka Bratusek (PS), said that there will be a bad bank but in somewhat altered shape according to Reuters. He said this during his hearing before the committee in the National Assembly, which is necessary before approval of the new government by the National Assembly, which we expect on Wednesday/Thursday. Comment: As we have recently mentioned, loan restructuring with government guarantees as proposed by the central bank, banking association and entrepreneurs representative could be incorporated in the Bad Banks operating tools and could make restructuring of the banking sector less demanding on cash-flow. However, though it can provide some relief and lead to an increase in efficiency of companies management, we are sceptical about a real success of these measures if not accompanied by privatization of the largest state-owned banks.
Slovenia States stake increases also in second largest bank, to 79%. As the NKBM banks Core Tier 1 capital ratio did not reach the required 7%, the hybrid loan provided by the government of €100mn (0.3% of annual Slovene GDP) transformed into equity. After that the Core Tier 1 capital ratio increased to 7.57%, according to STA, and is expected to be raised further by mid-2013. The NKBM reported its balance sheet at €4.6bn at end of 3Q12 (c. 9% of the total banking sector) and the non-bank loan-to-deposit ratio at 1.06x (loan to total assets at 68%). The NPLs to total customer assets were reported at 18.2% at end of 3Q12, up from 12.9% at the end of 2011, and were above the average of 13.6% reported in the banking sector in September 2012. The NKBMs NPLs were covered by provisions of around 65% in that period, above the average 58% in the banking sector. A similar hike in capital already took place in the largest Slovene bank NLB in February, when the governments hybrid loan of €320mn was transformed into equity, which meant that the government stake increased to 86% after this step and after the March sale of KBCs 22% share to the government for one euro. The governments large stake in these two largest banks (around 25% of banking assets) represents an obligation for government to increase capital to meet the recommendation of core tier 1 capital at 9%. Furthermore, these large government stakes are likely to be a source of tension between coalition partners, given the divergent opinions on the privatization process that we have seen between right vs. left wing parties recently.
Slovenia Registered unemployment rate increased to 13.6% in January. This represents an increase of 1.1% points compared to January 2012, while the number of registered unemployed people increased by 7.2% YY to 124K after a 4.7% increase a month ago. However, the unemployment rate according to the ILO methodology is lower at 9.6% nsa in 4Q12 (9.5% sa), though the negative dynamic is similar to that of the registered unemployment rate. Comment: The increase in the unemployment rate that accelerated in YY terms in Dec12/Jan13 is not driven by seasonal patterns. This supports our view of ongoing contraction in GDP during 1H13, when we expect GDP to fall cumulatively by 0.5% after a 2.8% fall during 2012 and to contract by even more if the recovery in export activity suggested by confidence indicators does not materialise. February manufacturing confidence was supportive of exports due to an improved assessment of order-book levels suggesting export growth of around 5%-6% YY at the end of 1Q13 after the export of goods accelerated to 3.3% YY in January from an average 0.8% in 4Q12.
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