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Metadata Glossary

Indicator NameInterest rate spread (lending rate minus deposit rate, %)
Long definitionInterest rate spread is the interest rate charged by banks on loans to private sector customers minus the interest rate paid by commercial or similar banks for demand, time, or savings deposits. The terms and conditions attached to these rates differ by country, however, limiting their comparability.
SourceInternational Monetary Fund, International Financial Statistics and data files.
TopicFinancial Sector: Interest rates
Aggregation methodMedian
Statistical concept and methodologyThe interest rate spread - the margin between the cost of mobilizing liabilities and the earnings on assets - measures financial sector efficiency in intermediation. A narrow spread means low transaction costs, which reduces the cost of funds for investment, crucial to economic growth.
Development relevanceBoth banking and financial systems enhance growth, the main factor in poverty reduction. At low levels of economic development commercial banks tend to dominate the financial system, while at higher levels domestic stock markets tend to become more active and efficient. The size and mobility of international capital flows make it increasingly important to monitor the strength of financial systems. Robust financial systems can increase economic activity and welfare, but instability can disrupt financial activity and impose widespread costs on the economy.
Limitations and exceptionsCountries use a variety of reporting formats, sample designs, interest compounding formulas, averaging methods, and data presentations for indices and other data series on interest rates. The IMF's Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual does not provide guidelines beyond the general recommendation that such data should reflect market prices and effective (rather than nominal) interest rates and should be representative of the financial assets and markets to be covered. For more information, please see
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License TypeCC BY-4.0