Spain bad loan ratio hits 50-year high | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 18.12.2013
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Spain bad loan ratio hits 50-year high

Spain's central bank has released fresh figures revealing that the eurozone nation's lenders have been unable so far to keep the amount of bad loans from rising steadily. The ratio has reached a new all-time high.

Spanish lenders' non-performing credits hit the highest level since records started back in 1962, the country's central bank reported Wednesday.

The ratio of bad loans judged highly unlikely to ever be repaid rose to 13 percent of all outstanding credits in October, up from 12.68 percent in the previous month.

This meant the value of risky assets climbed by three million euros ($4.12 billion) month-on-month to a total of 190.97 billion euros.

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Bad loans on the balance sheets of European banks

Spain is the eurozone's fourth-biggest economy and has drawn over 40 billion euros from a banking-sector recue fund provided by its European allies. The southern European nation is due to exit that bailout program in January.

The European Commission and the International Monetary Fund said Spain was on its way to recovery, but warned that lending to businesses had yet to pick up while economic risks remained in the wake of the 2008 collapse of Spain's domestic real estate sector.

Spain managed to leave recession behind in the third quarter, but it is still grappling with a record-high unemployment rate of around 26 percent. That also dampens consumption and growth prospects.

A loan is regarded as having gone bad if payment has been delayed for three consecutive months.

hg/ipj (AFP, dpa)

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