February 23, 2018 / 2:04 PM / in 3 months

Italy's bad corporate loans to fall to pre-crisis levels by 2019

MILAN, Feb 23 (Reuters) - The share of Italian banks’ corporate loans turning sour is set to fall this year and next close to levels last seen before the global financial crisis started in 2008, a study published on Friday showed.

A report compiled by Italy’s banking association ABI together with financial data and debt collection group Cerved said 2.5 percent of all new loans, net of writedowns, were expected to turn sour in 2018, falling further to 2.1 percent in 2019 - compared with 3.2 percent in 2017.

The figure stood at 1.7 percent in 2008.

The study said the improvement would be widespread across all industries and geographies regardless of the size of the companies surveyed.

However, the improvement was expected to be smaller for micro-businesses, for companies located in the central and southern regions and for those operating in the construction sector.

According to the latest data by ABI, bad loans at Italian lenders last year fell 17 percent to 167 billion euros ($205 billion) before writedowns. ($1 = 0.8127 euros) (Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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