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The Venezuelan financial system registered total profits for 696.32 billion bolívares (Bs.) between July and October, an amount over 103.8 billion Bs higher than the figures for the same period last year, which represents an outstanding increase of 17.52%.

Total income for the commercial banking system reached 2.22 trillion Bs.: 1.15 trillion Bs. in allocated loans and 995.56 billion Bs. in security returns, according to the October report by Softline Consultores. So far, the Venezuelan commercial banking system, has received nearly 37.51 trillion Bs. Only between September and October, this figure rose by 1.45 trillion Bs., a 4% increase.

But between January and last month, this figure surpassed 8.92 trillion Bs., 31.2% above the same period last year, and between October of 2003 and last October, allocations in the financial system increased by 12.24 trillion Bs., over 48.4%.

The analysts regard this phenomenon as a result of a greater economic activity in the country, a fact that is also reflected in the decrease in the maturity rate to 2.57%, the lowest since 1997.

“It is relevant to point out that the credit portfolio increased by almost 6% in October, and over 106% in the last twelve months, a result of the decrease of the interest rates and of greater levels of economic activity”, said the consultants.

The credit portfolio totals 17,7 trillion Bs, 954.54 billion Bs higher than in September; 7.29 trillion Bs. more than in January, and 9.11trillion more than in October 2003.

The specialists also pointed out that the private sector not related to the oil business has grown, and that thanks to this trend, total growth for 2004 could reach 14%, the highest in the region. Thanks to the decrease in the interest rates, the quality of the credit portfolio has also improved, with a 2.57% maturity rate, the lowest since December 1997.

Agricultural loans recovered 8.19% in October

According to the last data supplied by Softline Consultores, the agricultural credit portfolio increased by 175 billion Bs. in October, equivalent to an 8.19% rise; for a total 2 trillion Bs. During the last ten months, credits for the agricultural sector increased by 899 billion Bs, equivalent to 63.46%.

Furthermore, the increase of agricultural loans for the last 12 months has been over one trillion Bs. The agriculture portfolio constitutes 20.41% of the total credit portfolio for December of 2003. The institutions among the first places in the agricultural loan portfolio at the close of October were BBVA Provincial, with 403,621 million Bs.; and Banco Mercantil, with 392,338 million Bs.