MILAN, March 9 Bad loans at Italian banks stood
at 197.9 billion euros ($209 billion) in January in gross terms,
the Bank of Italy said on Thursday, highlighting a major drag on
lenders' profitability and capital.
Loans to borrowers deemed insolvent ('sofferenze') were down
slightly from an end-2016 figure of 200.85 billion euros, the
data showed, but were up 4 percent compared to January 2016. The
annual increase was 5.6 percent in December.
Sofferenze accounted for around 8 percent of total loans,
the monthly bulletin said.
The Bank of Italy said loans to companies rose 0.9 percent
in January after a 0.2 percent increase in December.
($1 = 0.9471 euros)
(Reporting by Valentina Za; editing by Francesca Landini)