Asset finance grew to £2.68bn (€3.16bn) in July representing an 8% year-on-year increase, according to the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA).

In the three months to July 2016, asset finance increased 6% to £7.8bn on the same period in 2015. The majority of this, £1.28bn, was through direct finance.

By asset, business equipment finance and car finance sectors grew by 7% and 4% respectively in July, while new plant and machinery finance fell by 13%.

Lease hire purchase was the most popular product, generating £1.32bn of new business in July 2016, for an increase of 1%. Other finance, worth £545m in July, experienced the highest increase, rising 71%.

Asset finance grew 7% to £30.2bn in the 12 months to July of this year. All assets except plant machinery, which saw no change, increased over this period, with aircraft, ships, and rolling stock finance experiencing the highest percentage rise of 22%.

Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “The asset finance industry reported its 34th consecutive month of new business growth in July.

“Encouragingly, some recent survey indicators have suggested that the weaker pound is helping to boost exports which should in turn support manufacturers’ confidence to invest.”