Credit expansion drops off

Greece’s total credit expansion eased to a 13.6 percent annual pace in April from 14.2 percent in March, reflecting the country’s slowing economy, Bank of Greece provisional data showed yesterday. Credit extended to business and households slowed to an annual 10.2 percent clip from 10.8 in the previous month. «The drop in loans to households reflects the ongoing slowdown in mortgages, while in business credit there is a considerable slowdown in credit to the tourism industry,» said National Bank economist Nikos Magginas, Reuters reported. «Credit slowdown is expected to continue in the coming months, although there might be a stabilization in mortgage lending, as the borrowing costs dropped in the second quarter of the year.» Mortgages grew by 7.8 percent year-on-year to 78.2 billion euros in April, central bank data showed. Greece’s 250-billion-euro economy is expected to tip into recession in 2009, for the first time since 1993.