Rising interest rates: Initial effects on credit
Fecha: noviembre 2022
Santiago Carbó Valverde and Francisco Rodríguez Fernández
Rising interest rates are translating into a considerable increase in borrowing costs over a short period of time. Households and companies will face difficulties in tackling this situation not only because of tighter financing conditions, but also because they come in the wake of a very long period of exceptional financial and inflationary circumstances. As of last August, the average rates being charged in Spain were still below the European average in 12-month consumer loans (4.16%) but were higher (7.39%) in longer-dated paper (up to 5 years). In the mortgage segment, the average rate being charged is among the lowest in the eurozone, France being the only one of the larger European economies to charge less (1.58%). In the first eight months of the year, average mortgage rates climbed 0.59 percentage points higher. As for business lending, the rates trend is less consistent. In the wake of notable growth in 2020 (6.3% year-on-year), fuelled by the support and public guarantee schemes rolled out during the pandemic, growth in lending has slowed significantly and has become more volatile, contracting, for example, by 0.2% in June only to register growth of 2% in August. On the whole, in Spain, lending has slowed in the wake of the efforts made to keep credit flowing to the private sector during the pandemic, mostly targeting the business segment. Specifically, the increase in interest rates is already materialising in a degree of retrenchment in lending activity, particularly in the mortgage segment.