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Central bank says lending growth pace drops below 8 pct in past months

Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea
Mugur Isarescu

Romania does not register a drop in lending, but a reduction in the lending growth pace below 8 pct in the past months, on Thursday said the Governor of the National Bank of Romania (BNR) Mugur Isarescu, when displaying the quarterly inflation Report.

"An annual growth of 8 per cent. It's not much, considering it is a nominal growth of the lending....If we consider an economic growth of 4-5 pct plus a 4 pct inflation, it is slightly below the GDP's nominal growth. In other words, the two conclusions I have mentioned in our previous meeting are valid and reflected by numbers," Mugur Isarescu said.

The BNR Governor added that we might witness an ongoing decrease of the lending share in total GDP or there might not be any increase of the financial intermediation at all. Moreover, Isarescu stressed that the BNR doesn't want to discourage lending by increasing interest rates.

Mugur Isarescu asserted that there are structural issues as regards lending: a slightly exaggerated increase of the lending to the population to the detriment of the lending to businesses, and as refards the lending to the population, we have the banks committed to less "wise" lending to the persons who do not prove strong refund capacity.

According to the central bank's head, the cost of consumer loans parks at a level comparable to to that of the countries in the region, but the cost of housing loans is still higher.

"The average effective annual interest rate for the new consumer loans to the population's households in the Eurozone stays somewhere around 6 pct, in Romania it has been stable ever since 2015 at 10 pct, in one year and a half almost below the average effective annual interest rates of the three countries with which we can compare ourselves (the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, ed. n.). Even below the Czech Republic, below Hungary, below Poland. Nowhere near the most costly in Europe, as they say.....Currently, it is slightly over the interest rate of the Czech Rep., but below that of Hungary and Poland....When it comes to the housing loans, if making the same comparison, the Eurozone and the three above-mentioned countries, indeed things have gotten out of hand due to the increase of the interest rates on the monetary market, the interest rates' growth on the monetary market that was correlated with the evolution of the inflation," Mugur Isarescu concluded.

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