"In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the consumer credit market recorded a significant decrease in the number of loans and the amount of credit granted in 2020, interrupting the growth trend that had been in place since 2013," the Retail Banking Markets Monitoring Report 2020 states.

An average of €490.3 million was granted per month, "which compares to an average of €632.8 million in 2019", with the amount of credit granted being similar to 2016.

"The average number of loans per month also decreased (from 133,264 in 2019 to 101,419 contracts in 2020)," says the Bank of Portugal.

By type of credit, the amount "decreased by 30.2 percent in personal loans, 15.1 percent in car loans and 18.4 percent in 'revolving' [revolving] loans".

"Half of the amount was granted through credit intermediaries, with the preponderance of these entities in the market having increased relative to 2019," the Bank of Portugal said.

As for the cost of credit, "it decreased slightly, measured by the market average APR [Annual Percentage Rate of Charge] in the fourth quarter, which was down 0.1 percentage points year-on-year."

"This reduction reflected decreases in the cost of 'revolving' [revolving] and car loans, partially offset by the increase in the average APR on personal loans," the central bank explains.