Steep interest rate cuts by the Brazilian Central Bank are finally having an impact on credit costs, the bank said Thursday, in releasing monthly financial statistics. Total lending by the financial system as of March was R$3.1 trillion, stable against March of 2017 but up 0.6% against February. The average cost of credit in March was 21.5% per annum, down from 21.8% in February and 23.1% in March of 2017. Lower interest charges also brought a decline in arrears to 3.3% of all loan contracts from 3.4% in February and 3.9% in March of 2017. The Central Bank has been cutting interest rates since 2016, when the base rate peaked at 14.25%. The base rate is not at an historic low of 6.5%.
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