FRANKFURT, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Loans to companies and households contracted for the eighth month in a row in December, as the euro zone recession puts investments and spending on hold in spite of the European Central Bank's loose monetary policy.
Loans to the private sector fell 0.7 percent from the same month a year ago, data released by the European Central Bank showed, in line with the mid-range forecast in a Reuters poll of economists.
The monthly flow of loans to non-financial firms fell 22 billion euros in December after falling by 7 billion euros in November. The monthly flow of loans to households showed a drop of 3 billion euros after a rise of 6 billion euros in the previous month.
Euro zone M3 money supply - a more general measure of cash in the economy - grew at an annual pace of 3.3 percent in December, slowing down from 3.8 percent in November and just below the consensus of 3.9 percent from analysts polled by Reuters.
(Reporting by Eva Kuehnen and Paul Carrel) Keywords: EUROZONE/M3
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