Growth in lending to businesses in the 19-nation euro area slowed in October, European Central Bank data showed Wednesday, in a further sign of stuttering expansion in the bloc.
Adjusted for some purely financial transactions, growth in lending to non-financial firms fell to 3.9 percent year-on-year in October, down 0.4 points compared with the previous month. With growth in loans to households steady at 3.3 percent, business accounted for all of a 0.1-percentage-point slowdown in overall private sector credit growth, to 3.3 percent.
The ECB eyes closely the pace of growth in lending to judge the effectiveness of its policies to pump cash through the financial sector and into the real economy -- intended to power expansion and push inflation towards its target of just below 2.0 percent.
Policymakers are widely expected next month to remove one pillar of easy-money policy, mass purchases of government and corporate bonds, which have amounted to almost 2.6 trillion euros ($2.9 trillion) since 2015.