[FRANKFURT] Private-sector loans in countries using the EU's single currency rose slightly in July, the European Central Bank (ECB) said Friday, in welcome news for the ailing eurozone.
In July, approved loans rose 1.3 per cent from a year ago, slightly faster than growth of 1.2 in June, an ECB statement said.
Credit specifically for households and companies was up 2.0 per cent in July after a rise of 1.9 per cent in June.
The statistics are deemed a key indicator of the eurozone's economic health.
Borrowing is a main financing source for corporate investment, which in turn should boost the eurozone's currently fragile economy.
The ECB has launched a raft of policy measures to get credit flowing, most significantly a massive programme to buy public sector bonds to pump liquidity into the system.
The ECB beefed up that programme earlier this year and also launched a scheme of ultra-cheap loans to banks on condition they hand them on to households and businesses.
Growth in the overall money supply, known as M3, slowed slightly to 4.8 per cent in July, down from the 5.0 per cent recorded in June, the ECB also said.
The ECB regards M3 money supply as a barometer for future inflation.
Analysts said the report could ease pressure on the ECB to take further action to boost the economy at its governing council meeting next month.
"The ECB will likely be pretty pleased with the July credit data, and it modestly dilutes the case for further stimulus at the 8 September policy meeting," Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight said.