Slovenia may seek help for its faltering banks

A picture of Slovenia Slovenia's banks are largely state-owned and saddled with bad loans

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The head of Slovenia's central bank, Bostjan Jazbec, has said it will consider asking for outside help if the country's funding costs stay high.

He also said Slovenia's GDP would shrink by 2.6% this year, more than April's 1.9% forecast.

Slovenia's banks are largely state-owned and saddled with bad loans worth 22.5% of its GDP.

Mr Jazbec's comments are likely to fuel speculation over whether Slovenia will be bailed out by the EU.

Still hope

Mr Jazbec said he would consider asking for aid if yields on Slovenia's bonds remained high.

During a news conference, he said the country was doing everything it could to bring its funding costs down.

"If that is not successful, then there is a possibility to ask for help within various programmes," he added.

Meanwhile, Slovenia's Prime Minister, Alenka Bratusek, has admitted to parliament the amount needed to rescue the banks is "completely unknown".

But Ms Bratusek told STA, the state-owned news agency: "We are very intensely preparing measures that are needed, so as to avoid asking for help."

The results of the bank's stress-tests, out at the end of November, will indicate whether or not a bailout is needed.

Eurozone members can ask for help from the European Stability Mechanism, set up in 2012.

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