April 11, 2016 / 2:47 PM / 2 years ago

Demand for credit eases in Chile during first quarter -cenbank poll

SANTIAGO, April 11 (Reuters) - Demand for loans in Chile slipped during the first quarter, a central bank poll showed on Monday, as soft economic growth and stubbornly high inflation have sapped consumer and business sentiment.

The central bank poll said demand had weakened for consumer and mortgage loans during the quarter. It was also down from companies of all sizes, including those in construction and real estate.

According to the poll, the number of banks that perceived weaker demand for mortgage loans jumped to 46 percent from 15 percent in the fourth quarter.

The bank’s quarterly poll on credit also showed that the availability of consumer and mortgage loans remained relatively stable during the first quarter.

Credit became more restrictive for real estate companies in the quarter, but requirements eased for most other companies, including those in construction, the poll showed.

Last month, Chilean Finance Minister Rodrigo Valdes lowered the government’s economic growth forecast for 2016 to 2.0 percent from 2.75 percent due to expectations of weaker copper prices and sluggish domestic demand.

Santander Chile and Banco de Chile are the country’s largest banks. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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