Euro zone household lending grows at its best rate since late 2010: ECB

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

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Lending to euro zone households grew at its fastest pace since late 2010 last month but corporate lending unexpectedly slowed, fresh data from the European Central Bank showed on Monday.

Lending to households in the 19-member currency bloc picked up to 2.3 percent in February from 2.2 percent a month earlier, its best rate since December 2010 suggesting that the ECB’s cheap cash is slowly making its way to the household sector.

Corporate lending growth meanwhile slowed to 2.0 percent from 2.3 percent a month earlier, its lowest rate since June and possibly breaking its recent trend for slow but steady acceleration.

The annual growth rate of the M3 measure of money circulating in the euro zone, which has in the past often predicted economic activity, rose 4.7 percent last month, slowing from 4.8 percent in January and missing expectations for 4.9 percent in a Reuters poll.

(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Francesco Canepa)