March 29, 2017 / 1:45 PM / a year ago

Brazil loan defaults fall to eight-month low in February

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO, March 29 (Reuters) - Loans in arrears for 90 days or more in Brazil fell in February to their lowest level in eight months, a sign that declining borrowing costs and steps by commercial banks to refinance looming debt maturities are gradually easing the country’s worst credit crunch in two decades.

The so-called default ratio, a benchmark for delinquencies, came in at the equivalent of 5.6 percent of outstanding non-earmarked loans last month, down from 5.7 percent in January, the central bank said on Wednesday.

Lending fell 0.1 percent in February to 3.070 trillion reais ($982 billion), the report showed.

$1 = 3.1251 reais Reporting by Marcela Ayres and Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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