Total asset finance new business (primarily leasing and hire purchase) fell in April 2022 by 16% compared with the same month in 2021. In the first four months of 2022, new business was 1% higher than in the same period in 2021, according to new figures by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA).

The business equipment finance plant and machinery finance sectors reported falls in new business in April of 18% and 10% respectively, compared with the same month in 2021. The commercial vehicle finance sector reported a decrease in new business of 9% over the same period.

Geraldine Kilkelly, director of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “The asset finance market reported a subdued performance in April following a strong end to the first quarter of 2022. New finance provided to SMEs was 7% lower than in April 2021, and to larger companies decreased by 34%. The construction equipment finance sector reported its first monthly fall in new business in April for more than a year.

“Much of the recent volatility in performance is the result of disruption to the supply of assets to finance. Business investment has yet to recover from the pandemic, with transport equipment investment particularly weak. Our Q2 2022 industry outlook survey suggested that more than three-quarters of asset finance respondents continued to expect growth in asset finance new business over the next year.”

UK asset finance new business grew by 13% in March: FLA