The growth of loans to the private sector in the euro area slowed slightly in March, European Central Bank data showed Wednesday. For the ECB, the statistics are a key indicator of the economic health of the single currency area, as borrowing is a main financing source for corporate investment, which in turn should boost the eurozone's currently weak economy.
In March, approved loans rose 1.0 percent from a year ago, slightly slower than growth of 1.2 percent in February, an ECB statement said. When certain strictly financial transactions are stripped out, the growth in loans stagnated, with credit accorded to households and companies up 0.9 percent in March, unchanged from February.
The ECB has launched a raft of policy measures to get credit flowing, most significantly a massive program to buy public sector bonds to pump liquidity into the system. The ECB recently beefed up that program and also launched a new scheme of ultra-cheap loans to banks on condition they lend them on to households and businesses.