October 24, 2018 / 8:14 AM / 10 months ago

Euro zone business lending growth hits another post-crisis high

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Lending growth to euro zone companies accelerated to yet another post-crisis high in September, the European Central Bank said on Wednesday.

Lending growth to corporations expanded by 4.3 percent last month after 4.1 percent in September, its highest since mid-2009, while household lending growth held steady at a post-crisis high of 3.1 percent.

Purchasing 2.6 trillion euros (2.3 trillion pounds) worth of debt over nearly four years, the ECB has held down borrowing costs to stimulate lending and rekindle growth and inflation.

While its efforts have mostly paid off, economic growth has softened this year and underlying inflation remains stubbornly low.

Still, with unemployment dropping and the threat of deflation warded off, the ECB remains on course to end its bond purchases this year and raise rates for the first time since 2011 sometime next autumn, satisfied that inflation will continue to rise even with reduced support.

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, pick up to 3.5 percent from 3.4 percent a month earlier, in line with expectations for 3.5 percent.

The ECB will next meet on Thursday and while it is all but certain to keep policy unchanged, it is expected to discuss a marked deterioration in the growth outlook.

Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Francesco Canepa

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