The stock of bank loans to non-government borrowers (households and firms) increased by 8.8% y/y to RON370bn (€75bn) at the end of April 2023, further losing momentum from 10.2% y/y in March.
The loans denominated in local currency edged up by a mere 1.6% y/y to RON251bn, as households’ balance of loans with banks increased by 3.3% y/y and companies reduced their stock of RON-denominated bank loans by 1.6% y/y.
In contrast, the stock of foreign currency-denominated loans increased by 27.9% y/y to RON119bn.
Companies in particular borrowed such loans, with the stock rising 42.9% y/y to RON95.4bn.
Commenting on this trend, induced by the rising cost of the local currency loans, National Bank of Romania (BNR) governor Mugur Isarescu cautioned against taking exchange rate risks.
There are signals that the European Central Bank (ECB) and US FED (Federal Reserve) will further increase their policy interest rates, so those who rush to take loans in foreign currency, considering them cheaper, now must be careful, warned Isarescu.