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Credit growth over December and January was the strongest two-month gain since early 2011.
AAP Credit growth over December and January was the strongest two-month gain since early 2011.

The value of credit outstanding to the private sector has risen 0.4 per cent.

That rise, for January, was marginally slower than the 0.5 per cent rise in December, but it has still produced the biggest two-month gain since February-March 2011, according to the figures released by the Reserve Bank of Australia on Friday.

Annual growth of 4.1 per cent was up from 3.6 per cent over the previous 12 months and from 3.5 per cent the year before that.

But it was still well below the rates of growth averaging around 13 per cent a year in the decade ahead of the global financial crisis that erupted in 2008.

Faster credit growth is one of the ways the Reserve Bank of Australia's policy of low interest rates is designed to boost the economy, so the latest very modest acceleration will be welcomed.

It will most likely give the RBA hope that it won't have to lower interest rates again.

But, against the background of a bleak set of business investment projections from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday, and the Australian dollar's stubborn strength, there is no guarantee that the RBA's hope will be fulfilled.

The component of lending identified as business credit grew by 0.2 per cent in January, after a rise of 0.4 per cent in December, the RBA's seasonally adjusted figures show.

Even so, business credit was up by only 2.0 per cent from a year before, showing slower growth than the consumer price index, and slower than the 3.0 per cent gain of the preceding 12 months.

That is just more evidence that the rise in business investment, seen as crucial to the economy's so-called "rebalancing", is somewhere over the horizon.