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Euro zone lending picks up in May: ECB


FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Lending growth to euro zone companies and households accelerated last month while a broader measure of money circulating also picked up, data from the ECB showed on Monday, indicating that the tepid recovery in lending is continuing.

The ECB has been trying to boost lending and last week offered banks a fresh round of ultra cheap loans, hoping to induce borrowing and investment, ultimately leading to higher growth and inflation.

Lending to companies grew by 1.4 percent year-on-year in May, above the previous month's 1.2 percent reading. Household lending meanwhile grew by 1.6 percent, a rise from the previous month's 1.5 percent.

The annual growth rate of the M3 measure of money circulating in the euro zone, which is often an indicator of future economic activity, rose to 4.9 percent from 4.6 percent a month ago, exceeding expectations for a 4.8 percent reading.


Growth in M3, which includes items such as deposits with longer maturities, holdings in money market funds and some debt securities, peaked at 5.4 percent in April 2015 and has flatlined or slightly eased since then.

The ECB cut interest rates and expanded its asset-purchase program in March to spur lending and, with it, inflation and economic growth in the euro zone.

(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Catherine Evans)