| The value of outstanding bank loans in Slovakia stood at EUR 41.3bn at the end of September 2012, as their annual growth rate slightly speeded up to 0.6% from 0.02% in the previous month, central bank data showed. Loans to corporate clients fell 3% y/y in September, after declining 3.5% y/y in the previous month. Growth in lending to households improved slightly to 8.2% y/y from 7.9% y/y. Compared on a monthly basis, the total value of outstanding bank loans fell 0.2% in September, following a 1% decline in August. In September alone, the Slovak banks extended a total of EUR 1.56bn in new loans, compared to EUR 1.66bn in August and EUR 1.42bn in September last year. IntelliNews comment: The nearly flat level of outstanding bank loans shows that the credit market remains subdued as the eurozone financial turbulence weighs on the Slovak economy. We expect the lending market to lose some ground this year as corporate credit growth is set to hold back in line with the economic slowdown, which may also affect retail lending, as demand for loans usually dwindle in a weakening labour market. New, stricter bank regulations are also exerting pressure on the lending market.
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