Letter IEDI n. 1226—Less credit to businesses in Q2'23
According to the data released by the BCB, in the 2nd quarter of 2023, new credit operations of the national financial system (SFN) totaled R$1,445.2 billion (monthly average of R$481.7 billion), which represents a real decrease of 0.9% compared to the same quarter of 2022, after adjusting for IPCA inflation.
This decline was driven by corporate credit operations (-5.2%), not entirely offset by the modest growth in new loans to individuals (+2.7%). It is worth mentioning the strong slowdown in the pace of growth of credit to households in relation to Q1'23 (+16%).
In the case of firms, the decline in loans was concentrated in the segment of freely set interest rates and general terms (i.e., "non-earmarked credit"), with a 6.5% decrease compared to Q2'23, due to the remaining contagion effect of the Americanas' crisis, which aggravated the already complicated overall context of high interest levels and low GDP dynamism.
Among the main types of non-earmarked credit, the worst results occurred in: check discount (-46.7% against Q2'22), import financing (-41.7%), acquisition of other goods (-24.1%), working capital (-23.7%) and operations known as "withdrawn risk": factoring (-15.6%) and credit card advances (-10.5%), particularly affected by the aforementioned contagion effect of Americanas.
In contrast, in the "free" segment, loans to households registered a real increase of 6.5% in Q2'23 compared to Q2'22. However, this movement was concentrated in a few types of credit: vehicle acquisition (+4.0%), stimulated by the government's program to reduce taxes on the purchase of these goods, in addition to overdraft (+3.2%) and credit card (+3.0%).
Thus, thanks to non-earmarked loans to households, the total amount of new SFN credit operations registered a real variation of +3.1% in Jan–Jun'23 compared to the same period of the previous year. In aggregate, operations with households grew 8.9%, driven by the 10.9% increase in the "free" segment.
In contrast, new loans to companies went in the opposite direction and shrank, in real terms, by 3.6%, due to the drop in the volume of new operations in the "free" credit segment (-5.2%). This movement was dampened by corporate credit with earmarked resources, whose new disbursements registered: 14.6% in relation to Q2 22 and 22.1% compared to Jan–Jun'22.
In the portfolio of earmarked corporate loans, the highlight was operations classified as "other" (debt compositions, Pronampe financing, etc.), which registered significant rates of expansion: 216.1% compared to Q2'22 and 171% in the first half of 2023 in relation to the same period last year.
Interest rates have been an obstacle to credit flowing through the economic system. In the new operations, average real rates in Q2'23 reached 27.3% per year (p.a.), implying an increase of 13 p.p. in relation to Q2'22 and 2.5 p.p. compared to the previous quarter. In Jan–Jun'23, the average real interest rate increased by 11.9 p.p. against the same period in 2022. Both credit to companies and credit to households had double-digit expansions in the period.
The worsening of credit conditions reflects the growth of default, but also aggravates it. Even when overdue debts are renegotiated, the deterioration of the borrower's risk analysis tends to translate into higher borrowing rates.
In the 2nd quarter of 2023, the percentage of operations with a 90-day delay in the total credit stock reached 3.6%, driven mainly by the increase in the default of companies in both the non-earmarked and the earmarked credit segments. It is a sign of low economic dynamism and high interest rates.
Household delinquencies, which are generally higher than those of companies, have also risen, but much less. Among the factors that may have contributed to this are the rise in real incomes associated with the slowdown in inflation, the improvement in employment and also policy actions, such as the increase in the values of benefits of the new Bolsa Família program. If the "Desenrola" credit-renegotiation program takes off, it will make another important contribution.