BUSINESS

Lending to households falls to record lows

Financing down 5.5 percent in December compared to same month in 2012

Madrid -

Lending to Spanish households suffered a record fall in 2013, given the increased reticence of banks to grant loans. Despite improvements in the wholesale markets — and not forgetting the bailout granted to Spain in 2012 to help its banks shore up their balance sheets — financing for households fell 5.5 percent in December compared to the same month in 2012.

That figure represents an unprecedented decline since the current data series began in 1995. After this fall, the outstanding loans owed by households fell below 787.4 billion euros, its lowest level since January 2007.

The negative figure for December came on the back of a slight rise in lending in November. But the argument put forward by the government and the Bank of Spain that the number of loans granted was beginning to recover appears to have been premature.

Inaccessible financing

Lending to households rose in November for the first time in four months, but the improvement appears to have been isolated rather than marking a change in trend, with financing still very much inaccessible.

The volume of outstanding debts of non-financial companies also fell in December, in line with the trend seen over recent years. The figure for the end of December came in at 1.072 trillion euros, 6 percent down on the previous year.

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