The balance of bank lending fell short of the year-before level for the 29th month in a row in May, reflecting a slump in corporate demand for new loans, the Bank of Japan said Thursday.

The daily balance of outstanding loans at commercial banks averaged 464 trillion yen, down 4.7 percent from the year-before level, compared with a 4.2 percent decline in April, the central bank said in a preliminary report.

After allowing for special factors such as loan securitization and exchange rate variations, the average daily balance showed a 2.2 percent fall, compared with a 1.8 percent drop in April.

The BOJ survey covers five categories of private-sector banks — nine major banks with a nationwide presence (known as city banks), six major trust banks, three long-term credit banks, 64 first-tier regional banks and 59 second-tier regional banks.

The balance at the city banks fell 3.1 percent, compared with a 1.9 percent fall the previous month.

Lending fell 4.8 percent at the major trust banks, 21.4 percent at the long-term credit banks, 1.4 percent at the first-tier regional banks and 7.3 percent at the second-tier regional banks.

The average balance of real deposits and certificates of deposit at city, regional and second-tier regional banks totaled 468.8 trillion yen, up 1.2 percent.

The month-end balance of bank debentures fell 5.9 percent, and that of loan trusts was down 16 percent.

The balance of commercial paper grew 13.1 percent to 17.17 trillion yen.