Household loan growth accelerates in eurozone

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Household credit growth in the eurozone picked up pace at the start of the year in another encouraging sign of the robust economic recovery in the single currency area.

Latest loan data from the European Central Bank shows the annual growth in household loans accelerated to 2.2 per cent in January compared to the same month in 2016 and up from December’s 2 per cent. Loans to non-financial businesses were unchanged at a seven year high of 2.3 per cent last month.

Credit growth in the eurozone has picked up in the wake of the ECB’s stimulus programme which is approaching its two-year anniversary next month.

The central bank’s record low interest rates and more than €1.5tn in bond-buying has also supported economic growth in the 19-country bloc, which exceeded the US at 1.7 per cent in 2016.

A measure of narrow money supply known as M3 softened slightly to grow at a pace of 4.9 per cent from 5 per cent.

“The ECB will likely point to the January lending data as providing ongoing evidence that its monetary policy is providing valuable support to eurozone growth and should not be changed any time soon”, said Howard Archer at IHS Markit.

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