The Great Recession was deeply damaging to many people’s economies. Now, in Europe, the toll is returning, in some cases worse than what we saw in 2008.
On Friday, the European Central Bank said its money supply grew 6.3 percent in December compared with a year earlier. The increase was fueled by a surge in loans to households and business, but some of the largest countries suffered lower growth than elsewhere.
In Italy, money supply growth jumped 10.2 percent, easily surpassing countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Britain. But it was the third lowest of the 19 countries of the euro zone.
Italy is struggling economically. The country’s gross domestic product has grown at an annual rate of 0.9 percent the past three quarters and is expected to rise only slightly this year.
The economy has been damaged by corruption scandals, fierce labor rights battles, economic stagnation and an influx of immigrants.
The Central Bank said the growth was fueled by households and businesses on the mainland lending each other more money. But in countries like Italy, Greece and Spain, where previous defaults and government spending cuts are still hurting economic growth, demand is expected to slow significantly.
The overall rise in money supply, 0.3 percent, was higher than the previous two months but nearly unchanged from a year earlier.