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Turmoil hits lending.

MANAMA: Bahraini retail bank lending to businesses eased slightly in the first quarter, posting its worst performance in more than five years as caution prevails in a Gulf banking system hit by the global financial crisis.

Outstanding consumer loans by banks in the smallest Gulf economy also declined in the first quarter while annual money supply growth fell to 14.2 per cent in March, its slowest rate of growth in two years, the Central Bank of Bahrain said in a monthly report.

Loans and advances to businesses stood at BD3.87 billion ($10.27bn) on March 31, down 0.03pc from the end of December, the data showed. The last time there was a quarter-on-quarter drop was in the third quarter of 2003.

Year-on-year growth in business loans also dropped to 38pc in March from 58pc in December, the data showed.

Total Bahrain retail bank loans to consumers fell 4.7pc in March from the end of 2008, including an almost 13pc decline in loans secured by property mortgages, the central bank said.

Claims on the private sector stood at BD6.12bn on March 31, up 1.4pc from the month earlier but down 1.4pc from December. Claims on the private sector peaked at BD6.27bn in November.

Growth in Bahraini money supply, one indicator of future inflation, fell to 14.2pc in March from 17pc in February, with the level of money supply also easing from the month earlier to BD8.06bn.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:May 13, 2009
Words:258
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