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Eurozone loans to private sector increase: ECB

European Central Bank.jpg
The European Central Bank's holdings of asset-backed debt fell for the first time since January, even as the bank steps up purchasing efforts to help boost regional lending.

[FRANKFURT] Growth of loans to the private sector in the euro area, a gauge of economic health, is picking up speed, suggesting the European Central Bank's monetary policy is finally working, ECB data showed on Thursday.

After long months of contraction, the volume of loans to private businesses and households increased by one per cent in July compared with the same month in 2014, the ECB said in a statement.

The previous month, private sector loans had increased by 0.6 per cent.

The long and deep financial crisis in the 19 countries that share the euro has squeezed lending, thus dampening economic activity. But the ECB has launched a raft of different policy measures to get credit flowing again, 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.

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And those measures are now beginning to make themselves felt, the ECB data showed.

The overall eurozone money supply grew 5.3 per cent in July from a year earlier, faster than the 4.9 per cent recorded in June.

The ECB regards M3 money supply as a barometer for future inflation.