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.