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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lending to Households Rises

Lending to households rose last month as a year of monetary-policy easing shows signs of resurrecting credit growth, the Central Bank said in a report on Thursday.

Retail loans rose 0.3 percent, compared with a decline of 0.6 in the previous month, it said. Corporate loans were unchanged after falling 0.7 percent in February, the report showed.

The Central Bank cut rates for a 13th time in as many months Thursday, bringing the benchmark refinancing rate to a record-low 8 percent. “The process of the economic recovery remains unstable, the necessity of supporting domestic demand remains,” the Central Bank said in a statement. The rate cuts are designed to make credit more “accessible,” it said.

Even after retail lending rose, the bank said lending growth was “insignificant” in March and April. Economic expansion slowed to a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent last quarter from 1.7 percent in the previous period and 2 percent in the third quarter, according to the Economic Development Ministry.

Banks continued to invest in securities and individuals increased savings last month, the report showed. Lenders invested 3.89 trillion rubles ($133 billion) in debt obligations in March, the Central Bank said. Russians’ deposits rose 1.6 percent in the month, compared with a gain of 2.3 percent in February.

“If commercial banks follow suit in lowering lending rates, the outlook for the credit market should improve,” said analysts at Aton Capital in Moscow, including Peter Westin.