Total asset finance new business (primarily leasing and hire purchase) fell by 7 per cent in October 2021 compared with the same month in 2020, according to new figures released by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA).

In the ten months to October 2021, new business was 17 per cent higher than in the same period in 2020, the figures show.

The plant and machinery finance sector reported new business up in October by 9 per cent compared with the same month in 2020. The business equipment finance and IT equipment finance sectors reported falls in new business of 15 per cent and 35 per cent respectively, over the same period.

Geraldine Kilkelly, director of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “In October, the asset finance market reported its first monthly fall in new business since January of this year and annual new business remained 12 per cent below its pre-pandemic peak. Nevertheless, the market continued to report pockets of growth with new finance for construction equipment and agricultural equipment up by 22 per cent and 18 per cent respectively, compared with October 2020.

“The sustained growth in the asset finance market during much of 2021 demonstrates the underlying strength of the industry, with many sectors returning to levels of new business seen pre-pandemic. The pace of recovery has been hampered by asset shortages which are likely to persist into 2022 as countries across the world contend with new waves and variants of Covid-19.”

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