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ECONOMY

Bank lending to companies falls to lowest levels since 2006

Decline is largest since central bank began current historical series in 1995

Outstanding credit extended by Spanish banks to companies in Spain in July declined 9.8 percent from the same month a year earlier to 677.431 billion euros, the lowest level since August 2006, according to figures released on Monday by the Bank of Spain.

The magnitude of the fall was the largest since the central bank began compiling the current historical series in 1995 and remains an obstacle to economic recovery. Compared with record levels reached in 2009 of some 950 billion euros, the amount of outstanding loans has fallen 29 percent.

Including foreign lenders, total credit extended to companies stood at 1.08 trillion euros, down 6.3 percent from a year earlier. Lending by foreign banks is up 39 billion euros from the start of the year.