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Big fall in Irish business lending

Lending to companies in the so-called Eurozone periphery - including Ireland - continued to fall in September, while banks in core countries kept lending more, European Central Bank (ECB) data showed yesterday.

Ireland recorded a 12.5pc decline in corporate lending - its steepest drop since July 2011.

The figures from the ECB showed corporate lending decreased on an annual basis in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, but continued to rise in Germany, Finland, France and Austria.

Weak lending has been one of the main impediments to growth as European companies rely mostly on funding from banks, which have been reluctant to hand out credit as they adapt to stricter regulation and went through the ECB's landmark asset review.