Euro zone corporate lending growth hits post-crisis high: ECB

EU flags fly in front of European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Growth in bank loans to euro zone companies set a fresh post-crisis high in April, even as a key money supply indicator, which often predicts future economic activity, dipped more than expected, fresh data from the European Central Bank showed on Monday.

Corporate lending in the 19-country currency bloc grew by 2.4 percent in April, just above the previous month’s 2.3 percent but the highest rate since mid-2009.

While this pace of growth was less than half of the pre-crisis level, it still suggested that the ECB’s cheap cash was making its way to the real economy, even if slower than the bank had originally hoped.

Lending to households meanwhile grew by 2.4 percent in April, the same level as a month earlier, when it hit its highest level since early 2009.

The annual growth rate of the M3 measure of money circulating in the euro zone, which has in the past often predicted economic activity, slowed to 4.9 percent last month from 5.3 percent in March and lower than expectations for 5.2. percent in a Reuters poll.

(Reporting by Andreas Framke; Editing by Balazs Koranyi)