10 Apr 2023 13:52

Central Bank says consumer lending in Russia recovering at 'normal' pace

MOSCOW. April 10 (Interfax) - Consumer lending in Russia is recovering at a normal pace, Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina said in the State Duma.

"Consumer lending, of course, fell in the middle of last year, but it also gradually began to recover. And now we consider the pace at which lending to citizens is growing to be normal. In past years, we said retail lending was growing too quickly, that loans were being issued to people who already had a lot of debt and they were getting into debt bondage. And we cooled and slowed this market down. Now, in our opinion, after such a drop, consumer lending is recovering at a normal pace," Nabiullina said

The Central Bank has not yet published statistics for March. As of late February, consumer loans were growing at a moderate pace for the third month in a row (tentatively by 0.5% in February and January). With adjustments for sales and write-offs, growth would have been slightly higher (+0.6% in February, +0.7% in January), but still below the levels observed in previous years (average 1.3% per month in 2019-2021), the Central Bank said.

The regulator attributed such trends to banks' continued tight lending policies and the need to comply with macroprudential limits, which limit the volume of high-risk loans issued.

According to the Central Bank forecasts, lending to individuals will grow by 10%-14% this year.