Bank lending to euro zone companies continued to surge in May, European Central Bank data showed today, suggesting that firms may be stocking up on funding before the ECB's interest rates rise later this year.

Loans to companies increased by 5.8% last month, picking up from 5.2% a month earlier to record the fastest growth rate since early 2021.

The pace of growth in credit to households meanwhile held steady at 4.6%, the highest level since late 2008.

Growth in the M3 measure of money circulating in the euro zone meanwhile slowed to 5.6%, the slowest pace in two years.

That is before the ECB boosted its bond purchases to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.