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MNB: Value of new retail loan contracts ticks up slightly in March

  The value of new retail lending contracts signed by Hungarian banks in March rose slightly in February, but was still just a fraction of the amount before the worsening of the global financial and economic crisis in the autumn, fresh figures published by the National Bank of Hungary on Thursday show.

The value of new forint home loan contracts rose to HUF 14.9 billion in March from HUF 13.3 billion in February. The value of forint consumer loans rose to HUF 16.0 billion in March from HUF 12.8 billion in February.

The popularity of forint loans grew markedly in the autumn when many banks stopped signing new contracts for Swiss franc-denominated loans, long the most popular loan construction for Hungarian retail borrowers, because of increased forex risk as markets grew more volatile.

In September, the value of new forint home loan contracts was just HUF 300 million and the value of new forint consumer loans was a slight HUF 500 million. In the same month the value of new CHF-denominated home loans was HUF 72.0 billion and the value of new CHF-based consumer loans was HUF 72.5 billion.

Average APR -- which reflects the total cost of borrowing -- for HUF-based home loans was 31.48% in March, down slightly from 30.95% in February, but nearly four percentage points under the APR twelve months earlier.

The value of new CHF-based home loans was HUF 6.1 billion in February, practically level with the amount in January. The value of new CHF-based consumer loans rose to HUF 5.3 billion from HUF 4.1 billion.

Average APR for CHF-based home loans was 8.40% in March, little changed from 8.52% in February, but up 61bp from twelve months earlier. Average APR for CHF-based consumer loans was 18.23% in March, up 45bp from February, but 41bp under average APR twelve months earlier.

The value of new euro-based home loans rose to HUF 14.9 billion in March from HUF 13.3 billion in February. The value of new EUR-based consumer loans climbed to HUF 16.0 billion from HUF 12.8 billion. The value of new EUR-based loan contracts was negligible before the cutback in CHF-based lending.

Average APR for EUR-based home loans was 7.91% in March, practically unchanged from February, but more than two percentage points higher than twelve months earlier. APR for EUR-based consumer loans was 9.17%, down 66bp from February and 140bp lower than twelve months earlier.

The average rate banks paid on forint fixed deposits was 9.54% in March, little changed from February and more or less level with the central bank’s 9.50% base rate. Twelve months earlier -- when the base rate was 7.50% -- the average rate for fixed deposits was 6.73%. (MTI-Econews)