BUDAPEST, July 21 (Reuters) - The planned conversion of foreign currency loans in Hungary into forints is likely to happen only next year, Economy Minister Mihaly Varga was quoted on Monday as saying in an interview with business news website hvg.hu.
Markets had expected the conversion, which could cause big losses to the country's mostly foreign-owned banks, to occur by the end of this year, based on earlier comments from officials of the ruling Fidesz party.
Varga said the government would submit the bill on the conversions late in November or early in December. Asked if this meant the conversion could come only next year, he said: "Yes, that is expected, but the legislation must be passed this year for that."
Foreign banks with units in Hungary include Austria's Erste and Raiffeisen and Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit. (Reporting by Sandor Peto; Editing by David Holmes)