Since mid-2003 industrial output in the EU has been growing in a relatively stable way. This growth ended with the onset of the crisis in May 2008 when the month-on-month rate of change for the EU industrial production index turned negative (see Figure 17). The pre-crisis peak of April 2008 was followed by steep decline (-22%) and marked by the trough recorded in April 2009 when industrial output was the lowest since September 1997. This abrupt fall lasted one year, and rebounded only in May 2009. At this early stage in the crisis, more developed financial markets in the euro area helped to some extent to mitigate the impact of the crisis on growth in industrial sectors dependent on external finance. However, this effect weakened in later stages of the crisis, particularly on well-developed markets for bank loans.