The Expansion of Consumer Credit in Italy and in the Euro Area: What Are the Drivers and the Risks?
28 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2019
Date Written: June 18, 2019
Since 2015 consumer loans have been rising fast in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Credit demand, specifically for consumer durables, has played a crucial role; the easing of supply conditions has been relevant only in Italy and Spain, which experienced stronger credit tightening during the past crises. Risks stemming from the growth of consumer credit are mitigated by its lower incidence, compared with mortgages, on households’ total debt and income; exposure to interest rate risk is also decreasing due to the high share of fixed-rate contracts. There is wide risk heterogeneity across countries, with Italy and Spain having the highest share of delinquent households (even for less than 90 days). In Italy, however, debt is increasingly concentrated among more affluent households, which are better able to withstand negative economic shocks; this trend is sustaining the drop in the ratio of new non-performing consumer loans.
Keywords: consumer loans, credit demand and supply, non-performing loans
JEL Classification: D12, D91, E32, G21, I32
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