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ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Banks ratings downgraded

The international rating agency Standard & Poors downgraded the rating of the General Credit Bank (Všeobecná úverová banka, VÚB) and the Slovak Savings House (Slovenská sporiteľňa, SLSP). This move, according to the agency, is a reflection of the deteriorating environment for the functioning of banks in Slovakia. The agency downgraded the rating of the credit reliability of VÚB with regard to long-term debts to B from the previous BB- and predicted further negative evolution. In the case of SLSP, the downgrade concerns public information. Instead of the former BBpi, SLSP's rating now stands at Bpi. The environment in which Slovak banks operate is, according to the agency, damaged mainly by the increasing twin deficits of the state budget and the trade balance. This has also caused an increased fluctuation of interest rates, which made enterprises weaker and increased interest risks. The deteriorating situation with the budget decreased the political will to change the tax system, which would decrease the banks' tax burden with regard to interest.

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