Euro zone corporate lending growth at two-year low

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Lending to euro zone companies held steady at a two-year low last month even as household lending hit another post-crisis high, European Central Bank data showed on Thursday, underlining a growing rift in the bloc’s economy.

Lending growth to non-financial corporations was steady at 3.2% while lending to households picked up to 3.7% from 3.6% in December, the highest rate since December 2008.

While euro zone growth has slowed sharply over the past two years amid a global trade war and a manufacturing recession, the services sector, employment and consumer spending have remained resilient, suggesting that households still remain largely immune to the slowdown.

The annual growth rate of the M3 measure of money supply, which often serves as an indicator of future activity, picked up to 5.2% from 4.9%, underperforming expectations for 5.3% in a Reuters poll.

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