FRANKFURT Jan 29 Lending to households and
companies in the euro zone contracted in December and money
supply growth slowed sharply, adding to pressure on the European
Central Bank to do more to support the euro zone's weak economy.
The ECB has cut interest rates to a record low, pumped extra
liquidity into the banking system and announced a fresh
government bond purchase programme, but the measures have so far
not managed to unclog lending to the real economy.
Loans to the private sector shrank by 2.3 percent in
December from the same month a year earlier, ECB data released
on Wednesday showed. That compared to a contraction of the same
amount in November.
Euro zone M3 money supply - a more general measure of cash
in the economy - grew at an annual pace of 1.0 percent, slowing
from 1.5 percent in November.
(Writing by Paul Carrel)