For the first quarter of this year the total volume of bank credits in Latvia grew by microscopic 0.03%. If to compare the end of March of this year with the same date of 2015, you can find the crediting fall by 0.8%.
Downfall in the sphere of crediting enterprises is specifically noticeable. For the first three months of this year the volume of credits granted to enterprises dropped by 909 million euro, or by 6.1%. In some way such dramatic fall is attributable to the exclusion of the liquidated Trasta komercbanka from the total statistics. But the general trend is connected with the fact that the Latvian enterprises serve out old debts more accurately than take new ones.
Things came to such a pitch that at the meeting with the head of banking supervision Pēters Putniņš President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis pointed to the need of increasing crediting the economics of the country. How the president of the republic can make presidents of private banks to lend money – is not clear enough. But, it is clear that crediting by the banking sector remains the most realistic source of investments. The volumes of foreign direct investments fall against the background of European uncertainty, the money flows through European funds are frozen until the second half of the year, domestic consumption does not grow... All hope lies with banks.
Especially since they do not hide in the commercial banks – already this year they are ready to invest in the development of national economics about 5 billion euro.
The paradox is that this money still has not been demanded. So, almost a half of the Latvian undertakers during the current year do not even plan any investments in business development. We are referring here also to such enterprises, which are oriented at the domestic market and to those, which work for export.
There were many reasons for sharp drop in crediting: these are the problems with growth of economics in Europe and crisis connected with the Greek debts, and the Russian and Ukrainian conflict, and devaluation of the Russian rouble. What is the point, for instance, to take credit for buying a new production line for fish or milk processing plant, if the traditional market for these products – Russia – is closed because of the embargo? Or who would take (grant) credit to an agricultural enterprise after the declaration of the Minister of Agriculture Jānis Duklavs saying that the agriculture is in critical condition?
All of this makes you think about survival rather than about development. For many now the issue how to maintain the existing turnover is much more urgent than expanding … So, but the Latvian banks, meanwhile, turn into money lockers — it looks like as financial resources are here, but to borrow them in the current situation is scary.