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FMA Q4 2016 Survey on Foreign Currency Loans

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The outstanding volume of foreign currency loans (FX lending) to private households fell by EUR 2.96 billion or 12.5% adjusted for exchange rate effects in 2016. During the 4th Quarter alone, the amount fell by EUR 780 million or 3.6% compared to the preceding quarter. Consequently, since the introduction of the ban on granting of new loans in the autumn of 2008 and the accompanying measures to limit risk, the outstanding volume of foreign currency loans (FX lending) to private households has fallen by EUR 27.59 billion or 60.2% adjusted for exchange rate effects. In absolute figures, there are still outstanding foreign currency loans to private households with a current value of EUR 21 billion; at its peak in 2011, this amount stood at EUR 38.8 billion. These were the findings of the FMA’s Survey on Foreign Currency Loans in Q4 2016.

“Our sustainable strategy to limit risk emanating from foreign currency loans for private households has been effective. 160,000 families are now able to sleep easier, as they have already changed from foreign-currency based financing. We remain convinced that together with Austria’s credit institution we will also be able to implement appropriate measures for the remaining 110,000 households affected for limiting risks”, commented FMA Executive Board Members Helmut Ettl and Klaus Kumpfmüller. It is of particular importance for the FMA to ensure that the withdrawal from foreign currency loans and the limitation of risks is achievable without causing a loss of confidence in Austria as a financial market.

The share of foreign currency loans in relation to all outstanding household loans stood at 14.5% as at year-end 2016, a decrease of 2.4% year-on-year. Compared with the height of the FX lending boom, where the proportion stood at 31.8%, it has been possible to more than half this amount. As of year-end 2016, 96.2% of the volume of the amount owed for loans in foreign currencies was for loans denominated in Swiss franc (CHF), with the remaining amount almost exclusively in Japanese yen (JPY).

Since the start of 2008, the Swiss franc (CHF) appreciated by 54.1% up until 30 December 2016 against the euro; in the fourth quarter of 2016, the exchange rate varied between 1.0687 and 1.096, following the removal of the minimum exchange rate floor of 1.20 in January 2015.

Journalists may address further enquiries to:

Klaus Grubelnik (FMA Media Spokesperson)
+43/(0)676/882 49 516

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