3 Sep 2009

Bank lending to agriculture sector continues to rise

5:16 pm on 3 September 2009

Figures from the Reserve Bank show that lending by banks to the agriculture sector continues to rise, despite the recession and the credit squeeze.

There have been complaints about banks keeping too tight a rein on lending, especially to dairy farmers needing more seasonal finance because of lower monthly milk payments.

But Reserve Bank figures for July show that banks had more than $45 billion out on loan to agricultural borrowers.

That's an increase of more than $0.5 billion on the previous month and more than $6 billion above a year ago.

The Reserve Bank analysis shows that farm lending has risen steadily in the past two years, despite a fall in dairy farm expansion when milk prices plummeted.

That is in contrast to the forestry sector, where lending has declined by more than $190 million in the past two years.