Bank lending to euro zone companies jumped in April, European Central Bank data showed today, in a possible sign of businesses locking in low interest rates before the ECB starts raising them in the summer.

Loans to companies increased by 5.2% last month, the fastest rate in more than a year, compared with 4.1% in March.

The pace of growth in credit to households held steady at 4.5%.

Growth in money circulating in the euro zone slowed as the ECB tapered its bond purchases.

That stimulus is expected to end in early July, paving the way for the first ECB rate increase in more than a decade later that month.