The stock of bank loans in Romania increased by 15.1% y/y to RON326.5bn (nearly €66bn) at the end of January, the National Bank of Romania (BNR) announced.
But in real terms, the annual advance was only 6.% y/y — still a substantial advance owed mainly to robust corporate lending during the first part of 2021. More recently, corporate lending — and retail lending to an even higher extent — has lost momentum. Thus, the stock of bank loans increased by only 3.0% over the past three months to January, or by 0.8% in real terms. The sluggish, but positive, advance was the combined effect of a 1.4% contraction of the stock of retail loans (in real terms) and a still significant 2.1% advance of the stock of corporate loans.
From a broader perspective, the stock of bank loans has advanced by 9.5% in real terms since June 2020, when the banking system and the government adapted their policies to the new circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic crisis.
But the robust advance reflects very different dynamics of the two market segments. While the stock of loans to households advanced by only 2.4% in real terms since June 2020, the stock of corporate loans surged by a real 16.4%, driven up by government guarantees.