FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Euro zone lending growth held steady in May while a broader money supply indicator, which often foreshadows future activity, grew faster than expected, data showed on Monday, easing pressure on the European Central Bank to provide more stimulus.
Household lending expanded by 3.3 percent, holding steady at a post-crisis high while corporate lending grew by 3.9 percent, below its post-crisis peak but defying expectations for a slowdown.
With economic growth slowing sharply on weak export demand for manufactured goods, the ECB put plans to normalize policy on hold and even flagged more stimulus, preparing markets for a possible rate cut or the restart of bond purchases.
The annual growth rate of the M3 measure of money supply, which often foreshadows future activity, meanwhile accelerated to 4.8% from 4.7% a month earlier, beating forecasts for 4.6%.
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Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Michelle Martin