FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Bank lending to euro zone companies picked up in October after a plunge a month earlier, suggesting that banks continue to extend credit even if at a slower pace, data from the European Central Bank showed on Wednesday.
Hoping to arrest a lengthy economic slump, the ECB approved a fresh stimulus scheme in September, partly aimed at banks so they would continue to provide credit to the real economy even as a long-predicted recovery fails to materialize.
Corporate loan growth picked up to 3.8% in October from 3.6% a month but remained below levels recorded earlier in the year. Household lending growth accelerated to 3.5% in October from 3.4% in September, its highest reading since early 2009.
The annual growth rate of the M3 measure of money supply, which often serves as an indicator of future activity, held steady at 5.6%, beating expectations for 5.5%.
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Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Francesco Canepa