Asset finance had a strong start in 2017 according to the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA), who revealed 16% year-on-year growth in January.

Total asset finance rose to £2.3bn (€2.6bn) in January 2017, and achieved £30.5bn in the year to that month, a rise of 3% over the same period a year prior.

Direct finance grew 2% to £1.1bn, to account for almost half of all asset finance in January 2017.

Broker introduced finance enjoyed the largest proportional rise, growing 27% year-on-year in January 2017 to £427m, and achieving £5.2bn in the year to 2017, 13% higher than the year before.

Leasing and hire purchase was the most popular product, rising 18% year-on-year to reach £1.2bn in January 2017, while operating leasing saw no increase, remaining largely static at £444m in the same period.

Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and chief economist at the FLA, said that the asset finance industry had demonstrated its strongest rate of growth since August 2016, and highlighted the performance of agricultural and construction equipment finance.

She said: “January saw new business growth across most of the main asset sectors. The agricultural and construction equipment finance sectors reported particularly strong new business growth in January, of 49% and 38% respectively, reflecting the stronger economic data for these sectors in recent months."