MADRID, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Spanish non-performing loan rate rose to a new high of 12.12 percent in August from 11.97 percent in July, according to data published on Friday by the Bank of Spain.
Loans that fell into arrears reached 180.67 billion euros (247.52 billion U.S. dollars) in August, which is the first time in 50 years that Spanish banks' bad loan ratio is over 12 percent.
Spanish banks' non-performing loan rate had decreased in December 2012 and February 2013 thanks to transfers made by Spanish banks to the Spanish bad bank (SAREB), which helped reduce toxic assets from banks with difficulties.
However, after those transfers, the bad loan ratio has been increasing for six consecutive months and hitting records highs, even surpassing the record registered in the last economic crisis of 1994 when the non-performing loan rate had reached 9.15 percent.
Meanwhile, Spain's total credit portfolio decreased by 1.73 billion euros since July to 1.49 trillion euros in August, while suffering a 12.17-percent fall over the last 12 months.
Experts believe the non-performing loan rate will increase in the following months due to high unemployment and lower salaries which make more difficult for Spaniards to afford their debts. (1 euro = 1.37 U.S. dollars)