Growth in euro zone corporate lending picked up last month, the European Central Bank said today, just hours before announcing whether it would curb monetary stimulus from next year.
Lending growth to businesses, a key plank in the euro zone's recovery, rose to 2.5% in September from 2.4% in August while household lending was steady at 2.7%, the ECB said.
Although lending was its best level since global financial crisis, it remained well below its pre-crisis mark as banks, under pressure to repair their balance sheets, remained reluctant to lend the real economy.
The annual growth rate of the M3 measure of money supply, seen by some as a precursor of economic activity, rose to 5.1% last month from 5%, beating expectations for a reading of 5%.
The ECB is expected to announce today that it will cut asset purchases from next year, taking the biggest step yet in weaning the euro zone off stimulus.