More cheap loans to banks was the European Central Bank’s answer to boost bank lending to private businesses in the euro zone. But the latest data show credit growth is still contracting and the best some economists came up with is that at least it’s not as bad as it was a year ago when it was shrinking faster.
Two vital gauges of euro zone progress, or lack of it, today.
German inflation for November is forecast to slip to 0.6 percent and will cue up the euro zone figure on Friday, which is predicted to come in at just 0.3 percent. Spanish inflation, due earlier, is forecast to come in at -0.3 percent.
It’s been more than two years since euro zone banks increased net lending to private businesses. And it’s been nearly half a year since the European Central Bank launched a new plan to turn that situation around.
For the European Central Bank, a lot is riding on euro zone banks ramping up lending to the private sector. Unfortunately, after a very long time, lending still is not growing. It fell 1.6 percent on a year ago in July.
Euro zone unemployment figures will emphasize just how far the currency bloc is from recovery while inflation data due at the same time could push the European Central Bank closer to new action. If price pressures drop further below the target of close to but below two percent we’re moving into territory where the ECB has a clear mandate to act, although the consensus forecast is for the rate to push up to 1.4 percent, from 1.2 in April.