BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Growth in the Slovak economy will slow by 0.1-0.2 percentage points this year and by up to 0.3 percentage points in 2017 as a result of Britain's decision to exit the European Union, the Finance Ministry said on Friday.

An expanding car sector is a major driver for the central European country and Britain is Slovakia's seventh biggest trade partner, with cars making up almost half of its exports.

The ministry last forecast economic growth of 3.2 percent this year, accelerating to 3.7 percent in 2017 and 4.1 percent in 2018. It will present an updated outlook in September.

In the report on Friday, it said a British departure from the EU will slash between 0.1 and 0.9 percentage points off growth by 2019, depending on different scenarios.


An optimistic scenario expects the situation to calm down and current trade relations with Britain to continue.

A more realistic one sees the creation of trade barriers, prolonged uncertainty and worsened economic sentiment in the EU. Under this, Slovakia, a country with 5.4 million, would lose almost 4,000 jobs by 2019.

The ministry's most pessimistic scenario counts on a more serious disruption of mutual trade, a recession in Britain and a significant economic slowdown in the EU.

"The pound's depreciation against the euro will decrease the attractiveness and accessibility of our products for the British consumers," the ministry's Institute for Financial Policy said.

"Even stronger will be a secondary effect of a slowdown in our key trade partners - Germany, Poland, France and the Netherlands," it said.

Credit rating firm Standard & Poor's said on Wednesday the risk of lower economic growth in central and eastern Europe (CEE) had started to rise in the wake of Brexit.

Britain's biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover <TAMO.NS> said in June the British vote to exit the EU would not affect its plans to build a new plant in Slovakia.

(Reporting By Tatiana Jancarikova; Editing by Jason Hovet and Tom Heneghan)