Business lending down in February, new figures show

The number of companies taking out business loans fell sharply in February 2012, reigniting fears that economic growth will be subdued this year.

New figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics have indicated that total commercial finance commitments were down by 8.4 per cent during the month, following on from a 1.5 per cent dip in January.

Revolving credit arrangements fell by 26.6 per cent in February, despite a rise of 0.3 per cent the previous month.

Many company owners and trade unions have urged the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to lower interest rates in order to give struggling enterprises a helping hand.

However, it seems the country's major banks are increasingly setting their rates independently of the RBA, with ANZ announcing last week that the rates attached to its business packages would go up by 0.06 per cent.

Entrepreneurs are worried that other lenders will follow suit, leaving Australian enterprises with even more financial problems.

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