Loans to SMEs fall

SMALL and medium enterprises had access to loans totalling €67.3bn in the third quarter of the year, recording a 5pc drop.

The figure compares negatively to €69.9bn at the end of the second quarter and €70.9bn in the first quarter of the year, according to new data from the Central Bank.

Some €3bn in new credit was lent to SMEs in the first three-quarters of the year, although this includes some renegotiations of existing loans. The data found that overall, gross new lending was lower for nine of the 15 sectors in the third quarter of 2010 than in the first quarter, but the Central Bank says this is likely to be influenced by seasonal factors.