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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The BIS's new long series on private non-financial credit

The Bank for International Settlements has introduced a new data series on total non-financial credit (loans and debt securities) covering 40 economies and spanning an average period of 45 years. The new series are intended to improve comparisons between different countries and across time. One interesting aspect of these new series is that they account for credit from all sources, not only that extended by domestic banks.

Here is a short article that gives a good overview of the new series. It contains several BIS signature-style charts and, for illustration purposes, provides a look at the evolution of total private non-financial credit worldwide:
While total credit has generally risen substantially relative to GDP, levels and trends in private sector borrowing have varied across countries to a surprising degree. For instance, in several economies, total credit-to-GDP ratios already significantly exceeded 100% in the 1960s and 1970s. Equally, in a number of countries, the share of domestic bank credit in total credit has actually increased substantially over the last 40 years – that is, banks have become more, not less, important. And finally, sectoral breakdowns show that there has been a general shift towards more household credit. In some countries, households now borrow even more than corporates.

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