Figures released by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) show that asset finance new business grew by 6% in June, compared with the same month in 2018.

In the first half of 2019, new business was 8% higher than in the same period in 2018. The commercial vehicle finance and plant and machinery finance sectors reported new business up in June by 10% and 1% respectively by year-on-year comparison. New business reported by the business equipment finance sector fell by 1% over the same period.

Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “A strong performance by the asset finance market in the first half of 2019 meant the latest annual new business total reported by the industry reached a record level of more than £34bn.

“Asset finance continues to be popular with businesses of all sizes. Of the total new finance provided to businesses in the first six months of 2019, more than £10bn went to SMEs – 6% higher than in the first half of 2018.”

For the month of June, plant and machinery finance was up 1% year-on-year to £617m. Business equipment finance recorded a 1% fall, to £221m.

By channel, there was no change in direct finance, remaining at £1.42bn for the month. There was a 6% increase in broker introduced finance, to £550m. There was an 11% year-on-year fall in sales finance, to £828m.

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By GlobalData

By product, finance leasing showed a 12% fall, to £326m. Operating leasing was at £512m, a year-on-year decline of 4%. Lease hire purchase showed a 4% rise to £1.79bn, and there was a rise of 16% in other forms of finance to £371m.

In 2018, FLA members provided £136bn of new finance to UK businesses and households, of which £33bn of finance was provided to businesses and the public sector.

According to the FLA, asset finance new business (primarily leasing and hire purchase) for deals of up to £20m grew by 6% in May, compared with the same month in 2018.