Kadri Salumaa, Financial Sector Policy Division of Eesti Pank
The portfolio of loans and leases to Estonian companies and households stood at 14.7 billion euros at the end of April having grown by 2.2% during the year, which is a slightly slower rate than in February and March. As companies repaid more of their loans in April than they took in new loans, the total value of loans and leases to the real sector fell by 88 million euros in the month.
Companies took out 10% more new loans and leases in April than in the same period last year. The increase in loan turnover has slowed as the comparison base has risen, but the 727 million euros in loans and leases that were taken out was similar to the level of March. Around one quarter of the loans were long-term loans. As in previous months, the majority of the loans went to the real estate and construction sectors. The remainder of the loan turnover was distributed relatively evenly among the other sectors.
For the first time in four years the housing loan portfolio of households did not shrink. This was supported by a resurgence in the housing loan market. In April more than 1700 loan contracts were signed, for a total value that was 31% more than a year ago. Households also continued to show strong interest in car leases, which saw annual growth of over 30 percent.
The average interest rate on loans rose slightly, while six-month Euribor, the base interest rate, remained at a similar level to that of March. The average interest rate for housing loans granted in April was 2.7%, and the average rate for long-term corporate loans was 3.2%.
Loans that were more than 60 days overdue made up 3.1% of the total loan portfolio by volume.
Annual growth in deposits slowed in April to 5%. The volume of deposits of the domestic real sector increased on the back of household resources by only 13 million euros in the month, remaining at 8.6 billion euros. Low interest rates offer no incentive for term deposits and so disposable resources tend to be held as liquid demand deposits. Term deposits have shrunk as a share of total deposits over the year by 11 percentage points to 33%.
The housing loan portfolio stopped shrinking after four years