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Asset finance new business (primarily leasing and hire purchase) grew by 9% in October, compared with the same month last year, pushing the market closer to an all-time record, according to new analysis.

Latest figures from the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) show that the plant and machinery finance and business equipment finance sectors had particularly strong new business growth, rising 16% and 29% respectively, compared with October 2017.

New finance for commercial vehicles increased by 23% over the same period.

For the 12 months to the end of October, asset finance demand has grown 9% compared to the previous 12 month period, or 3% excluding high-value items.

Growth has come almost entirely from broker-introduced finance, which was up 22% in October compared to the same period last year and 12% over the past 12 months.

Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “The asset finance market made a strong start to the final quarter of 2018, with new finance for construction and agricultural equipment up in October by 27% and 19% respectively, compared with the same month in 2017.

“Asset finance new business in 2018 as a whole is likely to reach a record level, despite continued economic uncertainty weighing on business investment.”

UK asset finance market by channel (Oct 2015 - 2018)

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