Asset finance grew to £2.2bn (€2.4bn) in August compared representing an 18% year-on-year increase the same month in 2015, according to the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA).

In the three months to August 2016, total asset finance increased by 8% to £7.7bn compared to the same period in 2015. The majority of this, £3.7bn, was through direct finance.

By asset, commercial vehicle finance saw the biggest boost in new business, reaching £562m in August for a year-on-year increase of 28%.

IT equipment finance fell by 10%, down to £177m from August 2015, while business equipment finance rose 24% to £186m in August, and plant and machinery finance increased 20%.

In the three months to August, all assets except IT equipment finance, which saw a 9% fall, increased new business, with aircraft, ships, and rolling stock finance increased 172% on the same period in 2015, to reach £147m.

Total asset finance grew 8% to £30.6bn n the 12 months to August of this year. All asset classes increased new business over the same period, with aircraft, ships, and rolling stock finance growing the most, by 18% to £546m.

Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and chief economist at the FLA said: “August saw the asset finance market record its strongest rate of new business growth so far this year.

“The strong performance of the plant and machinery finance sector was driven by higher levels of new finance for manufacturing, construction, and agricultural equipment.”