Euro zone household lending growth at decade high: ECB


FRANKFURT, May 28 (Reuters) - Household lending growth hit a post-crisis high last month while corporate lending expanded at its best rate this year, European Central Bank data showed on Tuesday, easing fears that banks are shutting off credit amid a growth slowdown.

Corporate lending growth picked up to 3.9% in April from 3.6% in March, a big pick-up, even if it remains below its post-crisis peak of 4.3% hit in September, the ECB said.

Credit growth to households meanwhile accelerated to 3.4% in April from 3.3% in March, its highest since early 2009, the ECB data showed.

With economic growth slowing sharply on weak export demand for manufactured goods, the ECB has already put plans to normalise policy on hold, announcing instead further stimulus measures to aid bank lending and prop up a still limping economy.

Fearing that banks may shut the flow of credit to firms amid a slowdown, it plans to give lenders a new line of ultra cheap loans with the ultimate aim of getting cash to firms so they continue to invest.

The annual growth rate of the M3 measure of money supply, which often foreshadows future activity, meanwhile picked up to 4.7% from 4.6%, beating forecasts for 4.4%.

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(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi Editing by Francesco Canepa)

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