Lending to euro zone companies continued to surge in July, beating expectations for a slowdown due to rising recession fears and plans by lenders to tighten access to fresh credit, European Central Bank data showed.
Lending to businesses in the 19-country euro area expanded by 7.7% in July after 6.9% a month earlier, while credit growth to households slipped to 4.5% from 4.6%, fresh data showed on Friday.
Banks that tightened access to credit already in the second quarter said they were likely to be even more cautious in the current quarter, as high fuel prices and war in Ukraine deplete savings and sap confidence.
This has raised fears that the ECB’s rate hikes — started with a 50 basis point increase in July and set to continue on Sept. 8 — could exacerbate the downturn.
Growth in the M3 measure of money circulating in the euro zone, meanwhile, eased to 5.5% from 5.7%, partly a reflection of the end of ECB money printing. M3 growth was just below expectations for 5.6% growth. (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)