Exotic Currencies and RON Chosen Over the Euro for Credits

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The euro is again losing ground to exotic currencies, in addition to the RON, when it comes to credits, with its share falling to less than 50% of the total funding granted by banks.

According to data from the NBR (National Bank of Romania), the share of the RON in the structure of credits peaked at 43%, with the volume of loans taken out in domestic currency rising by almost 57% between May 2006 and May 2007.

At the same time, the share of credits in exotic currencies rose to an all time high of 1.7% in the total funding, after their volume increased by over 12 times in the last year.

At the end of May, credits granted by banks saw an annual increase of 50.2%, with their volume standing at 120.4 billion RON (equivalent to 36.7 billion euros), according to the Central Credit Register, a NBR (National Bank of Romania) database that gathers information on exposures exceeding 20,000 RON to a single debtor.

This funding accounts for around 80% of all credits granted by banks. Credits in euros account for the biggest share of overall credits granted by banks with the total value standing at a sum equivalent to 60.2 billion RON (18.3 billion euros). The share held by credits in euros stood at 49.9% in May, against a level of over 50% registered in the preceding months.

Expressed in RON, the volume of credits granted in euros has increased by 55.8% over the past year, but the increase is actually higher, given that the NBR reports the value of credits granted in euros by calculating it in the national currency and not in euros.

Expressed in euros, the increase stood at 66% against May 2006. The average EUR/RON exchange rate stood at 3.2850 RON in May against an average of 3.5071 RON in the same month last year.

Credits in RON granted by credit institutions increased 56.7% against May last year, reaching 51.8 billion RON (15.8 billion euros). Under the circumstances, the RON's share in the structure of credits increased 43% against 41% in May last year.

The uninterrupted appreciation of the RON against the euro over the last few years has been to the advantage of those who relied on the European currency for loans, and are now making gains in RON.

Since the beginning of this year alone, the RON gained over 6% against the euro, therefore, expressed in RON, the instalments for credits in euros are now significantly lower. However, for those taking out credits, the euro has not been as attractive as in the past few years. Statistics are, however, distorted because of the practice of many banks to "export" credits in foreign currencies to shareholders abroad.

The highest growth rate was witnessed by credits granted in currencies other than the RON, euro and the US dollar. Credits taken out in "exotic" currencies, such as the Swiss franc, reached 2.1 billion RON, a level 12.6 times higher than in May last year.

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