Figures from the Central Bank show that lending to consumers and business continued to fall during February, but deposits continue to stabilise.

The bank said loans to households were down 4% compared with the same month last year.

The annual fall in January was 3.9%. Mortgage lending was down 2.5% over 12 months, while lending for other purposes fell by 8.4%.

Lending to business was 2.3% lower compared with February last year, following an annual fall of 2.2% in January.

Business loans with terms of between one and five years fell sharply over the year, according to the Central Bank, but short-term loans of less than one year were up 2.7% over the year. Longer-term loans were down 0.4% over the 12 months.

The Central Bank figures also show that private sector deposits - deposits from households, businesses, financial institutions and pension funds - fell at an annual rate of 6% in February, a smaller decline than the 7% reported in January.

Total private sector deposits have stabilised in recent months.

The bank said that deposits from households and businesses rose during February, but deposits from financial institutions and pension funds fell.

The amount which has been borrowed by financial institutions from the Central Bank as part of the euro system fell by €7.9 billion during February to €87 billion. The domestic banks accounted for €71.3 billion of this. The Central Bank said there was a decline in the figure for IFSC banks during February, but domestic banks' borrowing from the euro system increased marginally.