The ratio, which measures overdue credit or credit that is likely to suffer a default, was 16.4% in December last year (better than the 16.6% in June last year, but higher that the 14.8% seen in December 2014), which was the third highest in the 11 European countries assessed.

Worse than Portugal were Cyprus (42.5%) and Greece (38.5%), the APB said.

Better than Portugal, but still higher than the 4.4% EU average, were Italy (12.6%) and Ireland (11%).

The APB used figures from six Portuguese banks: Caixa Geral de Depósitos, BCP, Novo Banco, BPI, Montepio and Crédito Agrícola.