Asset finance new business grew by £2.5bn (€3bn) year-on-year in October for an increase of 1%, driven mostly by direct finance, according to the Finance & Leasing Association.

The increase marks the 37th consecutive month of growth, and was driven by strong growth in business equipment finance and plant and machinery finance, which grew by 16% and 10% respectively.

By channel, direct finance dominated October, increasing 4% to represent £1.3bn, as the role of brokers declined with broker-introduced finance down by 3% over the same period.

Aircraft, ships, and rolling stock finance experienced the largest percentage year-on-year growth in October, increasing 90% to £46m, while the value of IT equipment finance declined by 10% over the same period, falling to £160m.

Although leasing and hire purchase made up the majority of new business in October, representing £1.3bn, it declined by 3%, as other finance saw a 27% increase.

Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “October saw robust growth in some key asset sectors.

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“In particular, new finance for agricultural equipment and construction equipment increased by 19% and 7% respectively, compared with October 2015.”