TALLINN - Estonia’s central bank Eesti Pank announced in a fresh report that the increased financing needs and improved borrowing capacity of firms led corporate debt to grow by 7.3 percent in 2012, reports LETA. At the start of the year, equity was still growing faster than debt, but in the final quarter of the year this trend was inverted by major growth in debt.
Firms continued to borrow from abroad in 2012. The volume of loans taken from abroad and debt issued there grew by 16 percent during the year and made up 35.6 percent of total corporate debt by the end of the year. A major contribution to the growth of corporate debt in the fourth quarter came from very large one-off transactions in the transport sector.
Eesti Pank said that household borrowing behavior continues to be cautious. The volume of household loans has remained essentially unchanged for the past three quarters. The total household indebtedness, measured as the ratio of debt to GDP, fell to 44 percent by the end of 2012. This means that the indebtedness has fallen by 15 percentage points from its peak three years ago and has returned to its level of 2007.
The Estonian economy as a whole was a net lender to the rest of the world in the fourth quarter and in the year as a whole. This was principally due to the cautious financial behavior of households and the relatively good profitability of firms.