FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Lending growth to euro zone companies hit its best rate last month since the bloc’s debt crisis while a broader indicator of money circulating in the euro area also accelerated, the European Central Bank data showed on Wednesday.
Lending growth to non-financial corporations accelerated to 3.6 percent in May from 3.3 percent a month, its fastest rate since May 2009, the ECB said in a regular monthly statement. Household lending growth meanwhile held steady at 2.9 percent.
Buying 2.6 trillion euro worth of debt over nearly four years, the ECB has laboured away to depress borrowing costs and kick start lending, all in the hope of rekindling growth and inflation.
While its efforts have mostly paid off, growth has softened in recent months and the expansion in lending has appeared to level off, suggesting that the bloc’s growth cycle has peaked.
Still, with unemployment dropping and the threat of deflation gone, the bank decided earlier this month to end the bond purchases this year, even if rates will stay steady at least through the summer of 2019.
The annual growth rate of the M3 measure of money supply, which in part reflects the amount of cash pumped in by the ECB itself, accelerated to 4.0 in May from 3.8 percent a month earlier, beating with expectations for 3.8 percent.
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Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Francesco Canepa