SEOUL, May 13 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s money supply continued to grow in March, as loans to households and firms increased amid the COVID-19 pandemic, central bank data showed Thursday.

The country’s M2 stood at 3,313.1 trillion won (US$2.9 trillion) as of end-March, up 1.2 percent from a month earlier, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

From a year earlier, M2 jumped 11 percent, the BOK said.

A key economic indicator closely monitored by authorities, M2 is a measure of the money supply that counts cash, demand deposits and other near money that is easily convertible to cash.

The BOK said M2 kept rising in March as households and companies took out large bank loans to fight the pandemic.

Last year, the BOK conducted two rate cuts in less than three months after South Korea confirmed its first coronavirus case, sending the policy rate to a record low of 0.5 percent.