October 26, 2017 / 8:16 AM / a year ago

Euro zone corporate lending growth inches up

FILE PHOTO - European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters building is seen in Frankfurt, Germany July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Growth in euro zone corporate lending picked up last month, the European Central Bank said on Thursday, just hours before announcing whether it would curb monetary stimulus from next year.

Lending growth to businesses, a key plank in euro zone’s recovery, rose to 2.5 percent in September from 2.4 percent in August while household lending was steady at 2.7, the ECB said.

Although lending was its best level since global financial crisis, it remained well below its pre-crisis mark as banks, under pressure to repair their balance sheets, remained reluctant to lend the real economy.

The annual growth rate of the M3 measure of money supply, seen by some as a precursor of economic activity, rose to 5.1 percent last month from 5.0 percent, beating expectations for 5.0 percent.

The ECB is expected to announce on Thursday that it will cut asset purchases from next year, taking the biggest step yet in weaning the euro zone off stimulus.

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Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Francesco Canepa

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