Businesses are finally borrowing again and banks appear happy to serve them at last.
Commercial and industrial lending in the fourth quarter of 2010 grew 0.2 percent from the third quarter to $1.22 trillion, the first quarterly increase in two years, according to Moody's Analytics.
The ratings agency predicts such lending will rise 3 percent next year, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Poor bank lending to businesses has been a thorn in the side of the U.S. economy, hampering more sustained recovery.
Commercial and industrial lending "is the last thing that turns in a business cycle," Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, tells The Wall Street Journal.
At J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., loans outstanding to midsized companies — those with revenue between $10 million and $500 million — are up 7 percent in 2010.
Lending to smaller businesses is up more than 40 percent this year.
Recovery is in the air in both the United States and abroad.
In fact, global stock indices are approaching two-year highs on hope that better days are around the corner, economically speaking.
The dollar, meanwhile, is staying weak on expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue to print greenbacks in an effort to fuel faster recovery.
"The dollar is a weak currency and it will continue to weaken against those currencies that aren't actively trying to disqualify themselves from being an alternative to the dollar," Ray Farris, currency strategist at Credit Suisse, tells Reuters.
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