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Agriculture lending still going strong in March as business lending contracts

Agriculture lending still going strong in March as business lending contracts
Agriculture lending by banks and other financial institutions continued to rise in March, up 1.4% from February and 21.7% higher than a year before, data from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand shows. In contrast, outstanding business credit fell for the third consecutive month and is now down 1.3% from its peak in December 2008. By the end of March, the amount of outstanding agricredit had grown at over 20% year-on-year for each month since May 2008. It eased slightly to growth of 21.7% in March, meaning there was NZ$44.7 billion worth of credit lent to the sector at the end of the month. Business credit grew 8.2% from March 2008, but year-on-year growth has been slowing in the past few months. The level of credit lent to the business sector had fallen to NZ$79.2 billion by the end of the month. Consumer credit lending was hardly changed from both February and March 2008 at NZ$12.8 billion. After year-on-year growth of between 4-6% in the first three quarters of 2008, it began to taper off in October. Finally, housing credit growth continued its slowdown, with March being the 21st consecutive month in which year-on-year growth slowed from the previous month. The amount of outstanding housing credit was NZ$163 billion at the end of March, up 3% from March 2008.

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