November 6, 2019 / 10:40 AM / 9 days ago

Slovenia cbank sees small GDP impact from loan restrictions

LJUBLJANA, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Slovenia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to lose less than 0.1 percentage point due to new loan restrictions, the Bank of Slovenia governor said on Wednesday.

Bostjan Vasle, who also sits on the European Central Bank (ECB) governing council, told reporters household spending growth could fall by about 0.1 percentage point due to the rules while GDP on aggregate would be influenced by less than that.

From last week, under new Bank of Slovenia regulations, consumer loans other than mortgages can no longer exceed maturity of 7 years while borrowers’ debt servicing costs, including mortgages, cannot exceed 67% of income.

The restrictions were widely criticised by banks and politicians, including the centre-left Prime Minister Marjan Sarec who fears they will reduce household spending.

His party earlier this week asked the central bank, which is independent, to reverse the restrictions, saying they will hurt citizens.

Vasle said restrictions were necessary to reduce excessive growth of consumer loans which at present exceeds 10% per year.

The government expects GDP growth of 2.8% this year and 3% in 2020, boosted by growth of exports, investments and household spending.

The government controls about 12% of the banking sector while most banks are owned by foreign institutions and investors, including U.S. investment firm Apollo Global Management, Italy’s Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, Hungary’s OTP bank, Serbia’s AIK bank, Russia’s Sberbank and Austria’s Sparkasse and Addiko Bank. (Reporting by Marja Novak; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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