March 23, 2020 / 4:31 PM / 6 days ago

UPDATE 1-Slovenia sees 2020 GDP down by up to 8% due to coronavirus

(Adds Chamber of Commerce comment, details)

By Marja Novak

LJUBLJANA, March 23 (Reuters) - Slovenia’s economy could shrink by 6-to-8% in 2020 if difficult conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic last for two months, the government’s macroeconomic institute UMAR said on Monday, revising down its forecast from early March.

On March 12 the institute forecast 2020 GDP growth of 1.5%, down from 2.4% in 2019.

“In less than two weeks conditions have changed significantly... The size of the GDP fall depends upon the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, its longevity and decrees (aimed to ease its impact),” the institute said in a statement.

Since the first coronavirus case in Slovenia was confirmed on March 4, the country has recorded 442 cases. Three people have died.

A number of companies have stopped production, including some of the country’s largest exporters, such as car maker Revoz, Slovenia’s unit of France’s Renault, and household appliances maker Gorenje, a unit of China’s Hisense .

The country, which borders Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, has also stopped all public transport, including air traffic, and closed all schools, bars, restaurants, hotels, sports centres and cultural institutions.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry said earlier on Monday its survey showed 93% of businesses face serious difficulties because of lower domestic and foreign demand and broken supply chains.

It added 40% of businesses expect their income in March to fall by more than 70% and it called on the government to provide help of between 2 billion and 4 billion euros ($2.15 billion to $4.30 billion).

Government measures announced last week included a provision of at least 1 billion euros for companies in difficulty.

$1 = 0.9294 euros Reporting by Marja Novak; Editing by Catherine Evans and Barbara Lewis

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