Business debt growth exceeds housing loan growth in September for first time in five months

Business debt growth exceeds housing loan growth in September for first time in five months

By Gareth Vaughan

Business debt grew by more than housing loans in September for the first time since April, Reserve Bank sector credit data shows.

The Reserve Bank figures show business debt up NZ$503 million in September to NZ$77.592 billion and housing loans up NZ$460 million to NZ$175.527 billion.

The last time business debt grew by more than housing loans in a month was during April when business debt grew NZ$705 million and housing debt NZ$364 million.

News of a pick up in business debt growth comes as BNZ yesterday reported a fall in second half-year profit as its bad and doubtful debt charge spiked NZ$30 million, or 88%, from an albeit low base to NZ$64 million.

BNZ CEO Andrew Thorburn told the rise in bad debts was due to "a couple of large" corporate exposures.

"In the first-half results I said it was an unusually low (bad debt) figure," Thorburn said. "We knew that we still had some stress in our book. A couple of larger ones have come through in this last half. But even at NZ$64 million that's still a very good quality outcome for us."

Agriculture debt rose NZ$49 million in September to another fresh record high of NZ$49.829 billion. Consumer debt grew NZ$13 million to NZ$13.145 billion during September.

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