Euro zone credit growth rises again, despite gloomy outlook

Bank lending to euro zone companies accelerated further in September, extending the sector’s biggest borrowing binge in over a decade, despite rising interest rates and a looming recession, European Central Bank data showed on Wednesday.

Lending to businesses in the 19-country euro area expanded by 8.9% in September, its fastest pace since early 2009, beating an 8.8% reading a month earlier. Household credit growth meanwhile slowed to 4.4% from 4.5%, fresh data showed.

The monthly flow of loans to companies, however, slowed sharply, dropping to 27.3 billion euros in September from 68.2 billion euros a month earlier.

Credit growth has been robust this year even as banks tightened access to funds, partly reflecting firms’ increased need for liquidity to cover inflated energy costs.

But credit demand is expected to fall in the fourth quarter across all sectors as interest rates rise further, the economy enters a recession and firms claw back investments, an ECB survey showed on Tuesday.

Growth in the M3 measure of money circulating in the euro zone, meanwhile, accelerated to 6.3% from 6.1%, outpacing expectations for 6.1%.