Czech lending speeds up in Feb thanks to exporters
PRAGUE, April 15
PRAGUE, April 15 (Reuters) - Czech banks' lending accelerated in February due to rising demand for loans to finance trade by its strong export sector outside Europe, the Czech Banking Association said on Monday.
Loan growth has been sluggish in the recession-hit central European economy where consumption and investments have been shrinking amid a series of tax hikes and spending cuts by the centre-right cabinet.
Demand for its exports from the euro zone has also been ebbing and the economy shrank by 1.2 percent last year and is expected to stagnate in 2013.
But Monday's figures suggested demand for credit was perking up. The overall volume of loans rose by 3.97 percent year on year in February, an acceleration from 3.7 percent in January.
Growth was driven by a 16.7 percent rise in insured loans for foreign trading partners of Czech exporters which reached 233 billion crowns ($11.77 billion), the association said.
"(It) reflects the rise in volume of export financing and the success of Czech companies in non-European markets," the association said.
Growth of loans to households was a touch slower at 3.3 percent from 3.4 percent in January. The main driver was mortgage loans which rose by 6.2 percent, the association added. ($1 = 19.7938 Czech crowns) (Reporting by Jana Mlcochova, editing by Jan Lopatka and Patrick Graham)
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