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Euro zone corporate business slows further

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FILE PHOTO: Headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) are illuminated with a giant euro sign in Frankfurt
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Lending to euro zone companies slowed further last month, European Central Bank data showed on Monday, extending its steady downward trend and likely raising concern among policymakers about banks' reluctance to extend credit.

Lending growth to firms eased to 1.5% in August from 1.7% in July, even as the monthly flow of adjusted loans rose to 12.6 billion euros from 10.2 billion euros a month earlier.

Lending growth to firms stands at around half of pre-pandemic levels, as firms now enjoy relatively strong cash-flows amid the recovery and banks show some reluctance to lend further.

Lending to households meanwhile held steady at 4.2%, a 13-year high.

The annual growth rate of the M3 measure of money supply, mostly a reflection of the ECB's copious bond purchases, increased to 7.9% from 7.6%, beating market expectations for 7.8% growth.

(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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