FRANKFURT, July 25 Lending to companies and
individuals in Ireland fell at the fastest rate since October
2011 in June, data from the European Central Bank showed on
Friday, highlighting one of the impediments to growth in the
The currency bloc is slowly emerging from the worst crisis
since it was founded in 1999 as many members are scaling back
government spending, reining in debt and reforming their labour
markets, while banks are still reluctant to lend in some parts.
ECB data on Friday showed that the situation is only slowly
improving. Lending in Ireland continued to decline in June,
falling by 10.8 percent compared to a year earlier, its
strongest dip since October 2011.
Lending also declined in Spain, at an annual rate of 9.0
percent in June, data showed. Lending there declined by more
than 10 percent each month over the course of last year. The
rate of decline has since slowed slightly.
The ECB has cut interest rates to record lows and will offer
banks more long-term funding at ultra-cheap rates later this
year to encourage them to lend more freely, especially in the
countries hit strongest by the crisis.
(Reporting by Eva Taylor)