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Spanish Mortgage Lending Drops for 21st Straight Month

Spanish residential mortgages fell for the 21st month in January as the euro area’s fourth-largest economy edged toward a recession and banks reined in lending amid a surge in bad loans.

The number of home loans fell 41.3 percent from a year earlier, after a 37.2 percent drop in December, the Madrid-based National Statistics Institute said in an e-mailed statement today. The total amount lent fell 34 percent, it said.

A 23 percent unemployment rate has curbed appetite for loans as Spain’s economy relapsed into a slump stemming from the 2008 collapse of a property boom. Indicators suggest Spain will enter its second recession in two years in this quarter, Deputy Economy Minister Fernando Jimenez Latorre said on Feb. 16.

Lending fell 3.1 percent in January from a year ago as bad loans jumped to their highest level since 1994, at 7.91 percent, the Bank of Spain said on March 20.

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