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Growth in eurozone private sector picks up slightly: ECB
[FRANKFURT] Growth of loans to the private sector in the euro area picked up fractionally in January, European Central Bank data showed on Thursday.
For the ECB, the statistics are a key indicator of economic health of the single currency area, as borrowing is a main financing source for corporate investment which in turn should boost the eurozone's currently weak economy.
In January, approved loans rose 0.8 per cent from a year ago, fractionally faster than growth of 0.7 per cent in December, an ECB statement said.
When certain strictly financial transactions are stripped out from the loans data, the trend remained the same - with credit accorded to households and companies up 0.6 per cent in January, compared with 0.4 per cent in December.
The ECB has launched a raft of policy measures to get credit flowing, most significantly a massive programme to buy more than one trillion euros (US$1.1 trillion) worth of public sector bonds to pump liquidity into the system.
The ECB already extended that programme by a further six months in a bid to drive eurozone inflation higher.
But ECB chief Mario Draghi has hinted that more stimulus measures could be on the cards in March if eurozone inflation does not pick up soon.
Growth in the overall money supply, known as M3, accelerated to 5.0 per cent in January from 4.7 per cent in December, the ECB also said Thursday.
The ECB regards M3 money supply as a barometer for future inflation.