Business

27 Jan 2021, 12:58 PM

STA, 27 January 2021 - Revenue in retail in real terms in Slovenia was down last year by 9.7% compared to 2019, the Statistics Office reported on Wednesday. The largest drop, by 23.6%, was recorded by shops specialised in sale of motor fuels.

The Statistics Office noted that, after four months of decline on the monthly level, revenue in retail in real terms last December was up by 0.1% compared to the month before.

In December alone, revenue in retail was up by 0.8% compared to November, excluding motor fuel sales. In shops specialised in sale of motor fuels, revenue was up by 0.5% on the monthly level.

Revenue from retail sales of non-food products was up by 0.2% in December on the monthly basis, and revenue from retail sales of food was up by 0.3%.

Year-on-year, revenue in retail in real terms in December was down by 13.3% when sales of motor fuels are included. Without these sales, revenue in retail last month was down 8.6% year-on-year.

Compared to December 2019, revenue from retail sales of non-food products was down by 16.1%, while revenue from retail sales of food was up by 1.4%.

More on this data

20 Jan 2021, 08:51 AM

STA, 19 January 2021 - Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj has announced after meeting social partners on Tuesday that he will set the minimum wage for 2021 at EUR 1,024 gross. This is 120% of the minimum cost of living and the lowest possible rise under minimum wage legislation. Last year, the minimum wage stood at EUR 941 gross. 

The minister said the government intended to partly cover the raise for employers until the end of June with the option of a six-month extension.

The next anti-corona economic stimulus bill will thus bring a provision to lower the lowest base for social contributions from 60% of the average salary to the sum corresponding to the minimum wage. In this way the state would pay some 40% of the raise, Cigler Kralj explained at a news conference in Brdo pri Kranju.

This will be the second most important measure in the eighth economic stimulus bill, which will also bring an extension of the furlough subsidy scheme and some new measures to preserve jobs during the epidemic.

A new formula to calculate the minimum wage kicked in as of 2021 in line with the 2018 changes to the minimum wage act.

It says the minimum wage must be at least 20% but not more than 40% above the minimum cost of living.

The last time the minimum cost of living was calculated was in 2017, at EUR 613 for a single person. It will be next calculated in 2023.

This is what particularly bothers the trade unions, with Pergam head Jakob Počivavšek saying the raise does not take into account all the price increases since 2017.

Although some employers insisted on freezing the raise even at today's meeting with the minister, they now welcomed his opting for the lowest possible rise.

The director of the OZS small business chamber, Danijel Lamperger, told the STA he expected the state to keep the word about subsidising the raise.

Počivavšek meanwhile criticized Cigler Kralj for having decided how much to raise the minimum wage before meeting the social partners, saying he had announced the sum at the start of the meeting.

The ZSSS confederation said last week it hoped for almost the highest possible raise, which means the minimum wage would amount to some EUR 847 net.

The minimum wage for each year must be set by the labour minister after consulting social partners, and the sum must be published in the Official Gazette by 31 January.

Employer organisations were against the changes to the minimum wage act before they were being passed in late 2018, arguing many companies could not afford to raise wages.

During the corona crisis last year they wanted to persuade the government to freeze or delay the January 2021 raise, but the trade unions were strongly against.

The government came up with a compromise, proposing to delay the new formula until 1 April, with the government covering the raise until September.

Since both the employers and trade unions opposed it, the proposal did not make it to the last anti-corona economic stimulus law.

Statistics Office data shows that the average monthly gross pay in Slovenia in 2019 was EUR 1,754.

18 Jan 2021, 09:07 AM

STA, 17 January 2020 - The financial position of Slovenian households continues to improve as their assets had increased more than debt until the end of the third quarter of 2020. The surplus of assets over debt stood at EUR 45.2 billion, a rise by EUR 3.9 billion at the annual level, the central bank's report shows.

At the end of last year's third quarter, Slovenia's households reported assets of some EUR 60 billion, an increase of EUR 4.1 billion year-on-year.

Bank deposits increased by EUR 2.1 billion to EUR 24.1 billion, 90% of them were made at domestic banks and 73% of them were sight deposits.

Cash claims totalled EUR 5 billion, whereas insurance or pension scheme claims stood at EUR 8.1 billion. Equity investments were also on the rise, amounting to EUR 18.2 billion.

Household liabilities rose by EUR 198 million to EUR 14.8 billion. Accounting for the bulk of the liabilities, loans increased by EUR 186 million to EUR 13 billion. They were mostly taken out at banks (84%).

When it came to the situation of companies or non-financial corporations at the end of the 2020 third quarter, the deficit of assets over debt grew by EUR 130 million year-on-year to EUR 39.3 billion.

Companies held assets worth EUR 50.2 billion, up by EUR 1.1 billion year-on-year. Investments in equity grew by EUR 712 million to EUR 17.7 billion.

Liabilities meanwhile stood at EUR 89.5 billion, up by EUR 1.2 billion. A quarter of them were loans (EUR 22.3 billion), down by EUR 631 million. Some 41% of them were arranged at banks and 29% abroad.

13 Jan 2021, 12:26 PM

STA, 11 January 2020 - The port operator Luka Koper generated EUR 206 million in net sales revenue in 2020, which is 8% less than in 2019. Cargo transshipment was down by 14% to 19.5 million tonnes, shows the company's preliminary and unaudited report, published on Monday.

"The reason for revenue dropping at a smaller rate than transshipment is better operations in additional services, filling and emptying of containers and in higher revenue from storage charge in certain segments," the company said.

The operator of Slovenia's sole maritime port in Koper added that it had felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but that transshipment of containers as a strategic group of goods had nevertheless remained stable.

Transshipment of general cargo was down by 26% to 954,807 tonnes, of containers by 2% to 9.27 million tonnes, of cars by 10% to 998,201 tonnes, of liquid cargo by 23% to 3.32 million tonnes and of bulk cargo by 25% to 19.52 million tonnes.

A total of 945,007 container units were transshipped in Koper last year, which is 1% less than in 2019, and the number of transshipped cars dropped by 13% to 617,157.

The impact of the pandemic is direct when it comes to liquid cargo, as the sales of petroleum products dropped, in particular in the aviation industry, the company said.

It added that the drop in car production had affected the entire supply chain, and that it showed in transshipment of general cargo, including steel products, and in the terminal for bulk cargo, where raw material for steel industry is transshipped.

A part of the decline in transshipment of bulk cargo is attributed to the general drop in the use of thermal coal as a consequence of the increasing taxes on greenhouse gas emissions.

In car transshipment, a positive trend was recorded in the second half of 2020 on the account of exports of cars to the Far East, which is why the drop was much smaller than in other comparable European ports, Luka Koper said.

12 Jan 2021, 15:59 PM

STA, 12 January 2020 - Representatives of the hospitality industry have warned that the industry is one of the most affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, and that the government's aid measures do not suffice. They want special treatment in the next legislative stimulus package and a special emergency law that would fully cover wage costs and fixed costs.

Blaž Cvar, head of the Tourism and Catering Section of the Chamber of Craft and Small Business, said in Tuesday's statement that the second Covid-19 wave was much more severe and longer and that the hospitality industry required special treatment.

According to Cvar, the number of unemployed persons in the industry increased by 30% in the last three months, while more than 3,000 establishments closed their doors last year. This requires a special emergency law to be passed.

Together with related associations, the section would like to see such law determine measures in the case that the crisis persists, and an exit strategy, as a significant drop in turnover is expected in the first months after reopening.

Cvar also thinks that the government should start gradually relaxing restrictive measures, including in hospitality, which in the initial phase would mean being allowed to serve meals and drinks outdoors.

In the next legislative stimulus package, the section would like to see loss of turnover to be covered by the government.

It proposes that for each month as of January 2021, establishments receive 70% of the amount of monthly revenue recorded in 2019, the last year when the hospitality industry operated normally.

The section also wants that the current measure of subsidised furlough be extended, and that the state subsidises wages fully, as employers are not able to cover a full gross wage as they have no revenue at all.

It furthermore also wants that universal basic income, like in the spring, is fully covered by the state - EUR 700 plus contributions in full. Otherwise, many employees will not be able to cover basic expenses.

Get the latest data on coronavirus and Slovenia

11 Jan 2021, 08:51 AM

STA, 9 January 2020 - The government has drafted mining act changes, under which high-volume fracking would be prohibited in Slovenia. The changes also lay down conditions for low-volume fracking. This comes after several unsuccessful attempts by opposition parties to ban fracking altogether.

The changes draw the limit between low-volume and high-volume fracking at 1,000 cubic metres of water per fracking phase or 10,000 cubic meters per entire fracking procedure.

While high-volume fracking would be banned, low-volume fracking would be allowed under several conditions, including that all ingredients in the fracking fluid and proppants must be known and approved for use in Slovenia.

Moreover, there can be no surface outflow of pollutants and they must not pollute the soil, water or air. Pollutants on the surface must be handled according to relevant rules, and must not contaminate underground water.

What is more, fracking must not come into contact with an aquifer and must not cause damage to other activities near the drilling wells.

Answering a question from the opposition earlier this week, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said that the changes "are substantially more restrictive than the provisions proposed by the European Commission," because the latter does not find low-volume fracking dangerous and does not regulate it.

"The technological method, just like any dangerous technological in the industry, will be safe for the people, the environment and nature," Vrtovec said in written answer to SocDems MP Dejan Židan.

The changes were put up for public consultation by the Infrastructure Ministry two weeks ago and stakeholders have until 22 January to comment.

The British company Ascent has been trying for years to get approval for fracking in Petišovci, NE, while left-leaning parties have attempted to get fracking banned three times.

06 Jan 2021, 13:51 PM

STA, 6 January 2020 - The government has extended the shutdown of non-essential shops and services by another week until 13 January. Several existing exceptions will continue to apply, including for hair salons.

According to a release issued last night by the Government Communication Office, the exceptions to the ban include shops selling mainly groceries, personal care and cleaning items.

Those shops are not allowed to sell footwear or clothing, though.

Also allowed to stay open are pharmacies, stores selling medical and orthopaedic equipment, farming shops, petrol stations, financial services, post offices and delivery services.

Produce markets will continue to be open and farms will still be able to sell their produce to consumers.

Also remaining open are newsagents and hair salons, among several other exceptions.

Individual non-medical counselling and therapeutic services will continue to be available.

It will still be possible to pick up goods or food at pick-up points except for alcoholic beverages between 6am and 9pm. Consuming the food in public spaces is not allowed.

Other essential services needed to ensure safety and health are also permitted.

The ban on the sale of pyrotechnics remains in force, mainly to prevent injuries that would require medical attention.

Existing restrictions and precautionary measures continue to apply, including the one limiting the number of customers inside the establishments to one per 30 square metres or a single customer if the premises are smaller. In open-air markets one customer per ten square metres is allowed.

06 Jan 2021, 12:06 PM

STA, 5 January 2020 - NLB, the largest bank in Slovenia, will phase in fees for combined deposits by physical persons of over EUR 250,000 as of April. The monthly fee will amount to 0.04% and will be first charged in May, the bank said in a press release on Tuesday.

The bank will add up the amounts on personal accounts and other accounts, including deposits, held by individuals in NLB, and charge the fee if the combined amount in a certain month exceeds EUR 250,000.

This means that if a client holds EUR 50,000 above the EUR 250,000 threshold for an entire month, he or she will pay a EUR 20 fee, the bank said.

The fee is expected to affect a small number of clients at NLB - some 100 from the network and slightly more from private banking. According to the business newspaper Finance, around 300 clients are expected to pay the fee.

The fee has been recently announced by NLB management board chairman Blaž Brodnjak, who has told the newspaper Delo that deposit fees had already been introduced in the majority of eurozone countries, most of which opted for the EUR 100,000 threshold.

"Fact is that the loan-to-deposit ratio in Slovenia is very unfavourable and deteriorating fast. This means that the volume of deposits compared to loans is higher than in comparable countries," Brodnjak has said.

Due to the lockdown and extensive stimulus measures, deposits have been rising even faster since people have nowhere to spend the money. Household bank deposits have thus already reached EUR 22 billion.

06 Jan 2021, 12:02 PM

STA, 5 January 2020 - Slovenia has issued a new ten-year bond to the tune of EUR 1.75 billion and extended the existing 30-year bond issue by another EUR 250 million, the newspaper Finance has reported, adding that the coupon rate for the 10-year bond is negative for the first time ever.

The news follows an announcement by the Finance Ministry on Monday that it had commissioned the banks Barclays, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole CIB, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and NKBM to manage the issue of a new bond due in 2031 and the increase of the bond due in 2050.

Finance cites Bloomberg in reporting that demand for the ten-year bond exceeded EUR 10.6 billion and the coupon rate was 17 basis points above the mean value of the 10-year swap rate of -0.27%, which means the borrowing comes at a negative coupon rate.

Slovenia also issued an additional EUR 250 million in existing 30-year bonds with a maturity due in 2050. The demand exceeded EUR 250 million. The coupon rate was 40 basis points above the median value of the 30-year swap rate of -0.02%. This means the sovereign borrowed at an interest rate of 0.38%, according to Finance.

Slovenia most recently tapped into international financial markets in October 2020. Finance at the time reported that the treasury took out roughly EUR 6 billion in fresh borrowing through various new and expanded bonds, not including treasury bills.

The bulk of the borrowing was needed to finance relief and stimulus measures amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

To implement this year's state budget, the country would need to borrow EUR 5.67 billion, under the budget financing programme adopted by the government last month.

Public debt would thus increase to EUR 36.62 billion, or 75% of the country's GDP.

05 Jan 2021, 11:59 AM

STA, 5 January 2020 - The sales of new cars in Slovenia dropped by more than a quarter in 2020 over 2019. Just under 53,700 cars were registered anew last year, a drop of 26.6% compared to the year before, data from the Chamber of Commerce show.

Volkswagen sold the most cars in Slovenia last year, 8,644, followed closely by Renault (8,391) and Škoda (5,577). The three car makers together hold a 42% market share.

In terms of car models, Renault Clio was by far the most popular (3,870), followed by Škoda Octavia (1,838) and Renault Captur (1,711).

The sales started lagging behind the 2019 figure already at the beginning of the year but then took a nosedive in March, as Slovenia imposed the first coronavirus lockdown.

Car salons closed in mid-March, with car sales dropping 62.5% year-on-year, while in April they remained closed the entire month and the sales plummeted by 71.4% to 1,846.

In May car salons were allowed to reopen and the number of cars sold jumped to over 5,000. The numbers started to drop again in autumn, as Slovenia went into lockdown once again.

The sales of vans dropped even more, by 28% compared to 2019. The makers Ford, Renault and Volkswagen remain the most popular among van buyers.

Remember the Drink Drive Limit in Slovenia

05 Jan 2021, 09:30 AM

STA, 4 January 2020 - The Ajdovščina municipality in western Slovenia has set up the first community solar array for local electricity supply. Seven households are involved.

The pilot project by energy group Gen-I and the municipality uses the roof of a public facility, a primary school in the village of Budanje, to supply electricity to seven buildings.

"This is the first such community project. It allows people to come up with their own solar plant, not on their roofs, which perhaps they don't even have, but on the roof of a public facility," Gen-I director Robert Golob told the STA.

The company funded and implemented the project. Local residents were then offered to lease the solar modules from Gen-I.

"Today, the solar plant is rented out in its entirety to seven families, who will get their electricity at a significantly lower price for ten years compared to what they have been paying so far," Golob added.

The 55.68kW solar array is expected to generate more than 58,000 kWh of electricity per year.

Another solar plant is planned on the roof of the Ajdovščina community health centre, the municipality told the STA. The project will bring together a larger community, up to 30 users.

Gen-I has been discussing such community endeavours with a number of municipalities. The Ajdovščina project is a milestone that could serve as a model. According to Golob, there are a lot of roofs on public buildings in Slovenia that could be used this way.

For a long time it was only possible for individual households to build solar arrays, but a government decree adopted in mid-2019 made it possible to implement such community projects.

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