However, during the coronavirus COVID pandemic, longer-term lending seems to have decoupled from developments in fixed investment. By contrast, developments in short-term loans for firms continue to co-move closely with their loan demand for working capital, owing to their acute liquidity needs during the pandemic.
Loan demand increased more strongly for small and medium-sized enterprises SMEs than for large firms in the second quarter ofbenefiting substantially from the policy support measures for bank lending during the pandemic. Developments across economic sectors have been heterogeneous during the pandemic. In the sectors most affected by the crisis, demand for bank loans increased considerably, while value added dropped.
The decline in gross value added in the manufacturing sector is particularly relevant in explaining the fall in business investment during the pandemic.
While some degree of recovery in investment activity is expected in the second half ofthe end of fiscal support schemes in some countries may lead to renewed fears about the creditworthiness of borrowers.
Overall, the continuation of a supportive policy environment in the near future will be crucial in preserving favourable financing conditions and facilitating the flow of credit to firms.