ECONOMY

Credit growth slows on household loans

Greek credit growth in April decelerated to an annual pace of 10.2 percent from 10.8 percent in the previous month, mainly due to a slowdown in households taking up new loans, Bank of Greece data showed yesterday. Bank of Greece, the country’s central bank, said loan growth to households decelerated to 8.3 percent year-on-year from 9.2 percent in March. The country’s households owed a total of 117.4 billion euros at the end of April versus 117.38 billion at the end of March, the bank said. Mortgages grew by a slower 7.8 percent annual pace or 133 million euros, from 8.7 percent in March. Consumer credit expanded by 9.8 percent, slowing from 10.9 percent in March. A sharp slowdown in economic activity along with tighter credit conditions are eating into the loan growth that fueled consumption and economic expansion in Greece and boosted bank earnings. Greek authorities want the pace of credit expansion to remain above 10 percent this year and have come up with a 28-billion-euro bank support package to keep the economy adequately funded. Lending to businesses slowed to a pace of 11.8 percent for the same month from 12.2 percent in March.