ECONOMY

Credit expansion continues slowing down in January

Greek total credit expansion slowed to 7.4 percent year-on-year in January from 7.7 percent in December, Bank of Greece provisional data showed yesterday. It was the fourth straight month that credit expansion slowed down. Credit extended to the public sector, including loans and securities issued by the state, was down 8.1 percent year-on-year versus a 8.0 percent drop in the previous month. Households continued borrowing at a brisk pace in January, providing the main thrust of credit expansion to the private sector. Credit growth to businesses and households slowed to 15.2 percent from 15.8 percent in December, bringing the outstanding total to 118.3 billion euros. Lending to households stood 28.4 percent higher than a year earlier, at 52.4 billion euros. The December growth rate was just a notch higher, at 28.5 percent. Total private corporate debt in January grew 6.5 percent to 65.9 billion euros, against a growth rate of 7.5 percent in December. Among household credit categories, mortgage loans accelerated to 25.2 percent, against 24.8 percent in December, to a total of 33.6 billion euros. Consumer credit growth slowed slightly to 36.1 percent from 37.6 percent in December, to an outstanding total of 17.2 billion euros. Credit card balances grew in excess of 7.2 billion euros – representing about 30 percent of total household consumer credit – but at a slower pace than in December, 22.4 against 23.2 percent. In corporate credit, disbursements to farming and merchant shipping accelerated, but lending to industry declined 2.2 percent in January. Loans to commercial and tourism enterprises grew 12.5 and 15.3 percent year-on-year respectively, with the balances rising to 18.9 billion and 4.0 billion euros.