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Fernando Pérez de Gracia, department of Economics , University of Navarra, Spain.

credit scarce and expensive

Fri, 13 May 2011 12:13:31 +0000 Published in le="color: #888888;">Expansión(Madrid)

Over the last few days, a string of new bad news has accumulated for Spain's already weakened Economics .

For example, the latest CPI figure for the month of April reached 1.2%, bringing the year-on-year inflation rate to 3.8%; on the other hand, BBVA's programs of study service has reduced the GDP growth outlook for both this and next year.

This is not good news for Spain's Economics : inflationary pressures are increasing and growth prospects are being reduced. In this context of economic stagnation with new inflationary pressures, the specter of the Greek debt crisis has reappeared once again.

At this time, the importance of credit as a building block core topic of a solid economic recovery escapes no one. In this sense, the recovery of a large part of the Spanish business fabric, both small, medium and large, depends on access to a normalized credit market. At the same time, the recovery of household consumption and, therefore, of demand, once again requires access to private credit .

The latest issue of the Bank of Spain's Economic bulletin , contains information on the survey on Bank Loans (EPB) corresponding to April 2011 in Spain. The survey provides two relevant results. Firstly, it shows that the criteria for the approval of bank loans to non-financial companies remain stable while they are "slightly tightened" (these are the terms that appear in the Economic bulletin ) to families and households for consumption and the purchase of a home.

Investment and Growth

Secondly, demand for bank loans by non-financial corporations continues to increase in the face of a contraction in demand from households. Specifically, households are demanding fewer loans for both house purchase and consumption, while requests for financing for SMEs are rising.

This survey sample differentiated behavior between entrepreneurs and households. Entrepreneurs continue to demand loans to carry out their investment projects. Let us remember that today's investment is tomorrow's growth. On the other hand, consumers and households have put the brakes on loan demand, perhaps reflecting this sluggishness and lack of confidence.

During this first major financial, economic and debt crisis of the 21st century, the credit market has contracted dramatically. Some news in the last week may lead us to believe that the credit drought may not be temporary but may be here to stay for a while longer.

The resurgence of the European sovereign debt crisis in its Greek version and rising inflationary pressures, among others, are not good news. In addition to finding an insufficient volume of credit for the needs of the productive structure, we will unfortunately be faced with a somewhat more expensive credit .

In the medium term deadline, inflationary pressures will translate into higher interest rates and financial institutions will pass on their higher financing costs to their customers, entrepreneurs and families. The scarce and expensive credit poses a serious threat to a strong economic recovery both now and in the medium term deadline.