(AA) – The Eurozone’s M3 money supply grew more than expected in January, while private loans declined for the 33rd consecutive month, the European Central Bank said in a statement Thursday.
The bank said the M3 money supply — the broadest measure — in the single currency area increased by 4.1 percent in February, more than economists had forecast. M3 money supply in the euro zone rose 3.6 percent in January.
Loans to the private sector declined at a pace of 0.1 percent annually in January, compared to expectations for a 0.3 percent drop, after falling 0.5 percent in December. Banks are still skittish about lending as capital reserve regulations have been increased in the past five years.
The broad money supply indicator shows increasing activity. The PMI survey for the Eurozone on Monday also indicated growth for business activity in the region.
The European Central Bank is running a stimulus program that injects €60 billion ($68.8 billion) into the economy every month. The increase in M3 is a consequence of that activity, but is also helping to drive economic recovery. Output and GDP were both already higher for the Eurozone in the most recent readings.
The ECB forecast 1.5 percent growth for the region in 2015.