Slovenian economic activity improved in June: government institute

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia’s economic activity improved in June after being badly hit by the coronavirus epidemic from March, the government’s macroeconomic institute UMAR said on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday household appliances maker Gorenje, the Slovenian unit of Chinese firm Hisense 000921.SZ, said in a separate statement that June was its first profitable month this year, without giving details.

“In recent weeks we acquired a large number of orders for August, September and October which is a good news for the company and its employees,” said Gorenje, which had said in May it would this year cut its workforce by at least 10% due to a coronavirus-related demand slump.

UMAR SAID: “Based on economic sentiment, cargo traffic data and the use of electricity, we estimate that at the end of June economic activity was at a significantly lower levels than last year but the year-on-year fall has been reduced when compared to April.”

Labour market conditions had also started to improve by the end of June after worsening significantly in the first two months of the epidemic, UMAR added.

Last month UMAR forecast that Slovenia’s GDP will fall by 7.6% this year with exports down by 15.9%. It sees economy expanding by 4.5% in 2021.

Slovenia introduced a coronavirus lockdown in the middle of March and started to lift it gradually from April 20. In has so far reported 1,859 coronavirus cases and 111 deaths.

Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Angus MacSwan