Brazil loan defaults hit highest in over three years in January

miércoles 24 de febrero de 2016 09:42 GYT

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO Feb 24 (Reuters) - Bank loans overdue for at least 90 days in Brazil rose in January to a more than three-year high, the central bank said on Wednesday, as the deepest recession in decades and rising credit costs strained borrowers' capacity to stay current on their debts.

Loan disbursements shrank in January on a month-on-month basis, the second decline in four months, according to a report. Outstanding loans in Brazil's banking system fell to 3.199 trillion reais ($801 billion) in January, the report added.

The so-called 90-day default ratio, a benchmark for delinquencies, rose to the equivalent of 5.4 percent of outstanding non-earmarked loans last month, the report said. January's number was the highest for the ratio since October 2012.

($1 = 3.9949 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Silvio Cascione and Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)