ECONOMY

Interest rates decline for bank deposits

Bank of Greece data for March, published on Wednesday, are pointing to a steady decline in the level of interest rates for deposit accounts, which had spiraled out of control in previous years due to economic uncertainties in the country.

The average interest rate for new time deposits lasting up to one year went down to 4.36 percent in March from 4.49 percent in February and 4.59 percent in January 2013.

The completion of the recapitalization of Greek banks and the need to contain the cost of money for Greek lenders, which has been particularly high throughout the crisis, is likely to lead to a further decline in interest rates for new deposits in the coming months.

As far as interest rates for loans are concerned, the Bank of Greece data show a mixed trend in March in the categories of new loans and existing ones. The average rate for new consumer loans for an indefinite period stayed put at 14.78 percent, while the rate for those to be repaid within a year dropped by 14 basis points to 7.96 percent. Open corporate loans fell by 4 bps to 7.56 percent, while fixed-rate business loans saw their interest drop by 18 bps to 7.18 percent for loans of up to 250,000 euros.