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EMU: M3 picks up, but lending remains poor

EMU: M3 picks up, but lending remains poor

30.5.2013 9:36

After a sharp slowdown in the previous months euro zone M3 money supply picked up in April. The annual growth rate of M3 rose from 2.6% Y/Y to 3.2% Y/Y in April, while the consensus was looking for a more limited rebound (to 2.9% Y/Y). The details show that the pick up was led by another strong increase in overnight deposits.

The lending data were however disappointing. Loans to the private sector dropped by € 28 billion in April, after a slight pick - up in March. As a result, the annual rate of contraction accelerated from - 0.7% Y/Y in March to - 0.9% Y/Y in April. Looking at the details, weakness was led by the non - financial sector. Loans to non - financials dropped in April by €17 billion after a stabilization in March, with the annual rate of decline increasing from - 2.4% Y/Y to - 3.0% Y/Y. Loans to households increased only marginally during the month, by €1 billion, with the annual rate of growth unchanged at 0.
4% Y/Y, suggesting that the recovery is stalling. The annual growth rate in loans for house purchases slowed from 1.3% Y/Y to 1.2% Y/Y as the monthly flow was zero.

After some encouraging signs from the lending data last month, this outcome is disappointing with a sharp decline in loans to non-financials while also loans to households continue to sputter, suggesting that the poor economic climate weighs on lending in the euro area despite record low lending rates. In May, the number of people unemployed increased by 21 000 in Germany, well above expectations as the consensus was looking for only a slight increase by 5 000. The May increase in the number of unemployed was the biggest monthly rise since early 2009. Also the previous figure was upwardly revised, from 4 000 to 6 000, bringing the total number of people unemployed to 2.963 million. The unemployment rate however stayed unchanged at 6.9% in May, in line with expectations, while vacancies dropped further, by 7 000.

Bad weather in May and a relatively high number of public holidays could be partly responsible for the strong increase in unemployment. Next month it will be interesting to see whether the pick - up will be partly reversed, which would confirm that is was due to special factors.

According to the preliminary estimate, German HICP inflation picked up again in May after falling sharply in April. The annual rate of HICP inflation rose from 1.1% Y/Y to 1.7% Y/Y, reversing most of the previous month’s decline. The consensus was looking for a more moderate increase to 1.4% Y/Y. On a monthly basis, German inflation rose by 0.3% M/M led by higher prices for food & beverages, leisure & entertainment and hotels & restaurants. Price increases for those components were offset by lower prices for clothing & footwear, household energy, transportation and communication.

After a sharp increase in April, we believe that also euro area CPI inflation might pick up again in May and probably more that the forecasted increase from 1.2% Y/Y to 1.4% Y/Y, which might ease deflation fears.

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