February 27, 2017 / 9:12 AM / 6 months ago

Loans to euro zone households grow at fastest pace since 2011: ECB

FRANKFURT, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Bank lending to euro zone households grew at its fastest pace in nearly six year last month while a key measure of money circulating, often an indicator of future growth, dipped, the European Central Bank said on Monday.

Lending to households increased by 2.2 percent in January, in line with expectations and the highest since May 2011, suggesting that the ECB's lavish stimulus, aimed at reviving growth through bank lending, is slowly paying off.

Lending has been on a steady upward path since early 2015 but picked up speed only gradually, leading to concerns that ECB measures were taking too long to work and were perhaps ineffective.

Corporate lending meanwhile grew by 2.3 percent in January, unchanged from last month, when it was at its highest reading since 2009.

The annual growth rate of the M3 measure of money circulating in the euro zone, which has in the past often predicted economic activity, slowed to 4.9 percent last month from 5.0, still meeting a Reuters forecast for 4.8 percent. (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Francesco Canepa)

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