Private lending is back in growth territ

Private lending is back in growth territory in Europe. That’s the latest positive signal on the European economy, confirmed by the European Central Bank this morning.

Loans rose 0.1% in the year to March, the first positive month after two and a half years of shrinkage. Analysts were expecting no growth, after a -0.1% contraction in February.

Here’s how the total stock of loans looks:

It’s not a pretty picture overall. Lending has seen a small uptick in recent months, but that’s practically nothing in the scope of the overall lending decline since 2009.

The total stock of loans is down by about €500 billion ($US550.1 billion, £357.2 billion) since its peak, and even if the upward climb continues, it would be years before that level is reached again.

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