Figures released today by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) show that asset finance new business (primarily leasing and hire purchase) grew by 5% in 2016 – the sixth consecutive year of growth.

New business in December 2016 fell by 13% compared with the same month in 2015.

By sector, plant and machinery finance in December 2016 was down 20% on December 2015’s figure to £506m, but stayed static at £5.84bn for the total year’s figure.

Commercial vehicle leasing in December 2016 was down by 10% to £665m from December 2015, but was up 7% for the year-on year figure in 2016 to £7.35bn.

The best performing sector in terms of growth was business equipment finance, up 8% to £214m in December 2016 on December 2015, and with an annual year-on-year growth of 16% to £2.417bn.

By channel

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By GlobalData

Direct finance and vendor finance channels both had a poor December in terms of growth, with drops of 14% and 6% respectively, but were up for the year on year at 5% to £14.86bn and 1% to £8.96bn

Broker distributed finance rose 14% in December 2016 from December 2015 and 10% year on year to £5.14bn.

Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “Despite a quiet December, asset finance new business reached £30 billion in 2016 as a whole, the highest annual total since 2008. Our latest industry confidence survey suggests a broadly stable outlook, with modest new business growth in 2017.”