By Jason Mitchell
Andean Region: Cautious on credit
As the Colombian and Peruvian economies expand rapidly, lending is growing at double-digit rates. Authorities in both countries must proceed carefully to avoid a bubble forming
In Peru, borrowing is easy. The country's expanding middle
class often finds itself the target of eager telesales agents
proffering yet more credit cards. Mortgages, meanwhile, are
also in ready supply in a country where home lending has been
growing by 20% a year. The statistics for Colombia also show
sharp increases in lending.
Rapid economic growth is fuelling easy borrowing. As a
proportion of Peru's ballooning GDP, credit today stands at
around 32%. In 2005, it was 17% of a much smaller national
output. In neighboring Colombia, total credit stands at 34.9%
of GDP today, up from 25.2% in 2005.
But the surge in credit growth has led to concerns that a
bubble could be in the making in the Andes. High household debt
and soaring real estate prices in a highly dollarized lending
system have raised fears that lending growth could get
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