UK October Net Consumer Lending Strengthens To £4.9 Billion

According to the latest Bank of England data, total UK lending to individuals strengthened to £4.9bn for October from £4.7bn the previous month and was fractionally above market expectations of £4.8bn.

The three-month annualised growth rate strengthened to 3.9% from 3.7% previously with the annual rate unchanged at 4.0%.

The increase in lending compared with an average rate of £4.2bn over the past six months.

There was an increase in mortgage approvals for house purchases to 67,518 for October from 63,594 previously. This was above the six-month average and the strongest figure since March.

There was also a slightly stronger rate of increase in consumer credit at £1.6bn for the month from £1.5bn previously with the 12-month growth rate increasing to 10.5% from 10.4%.

The data will maintain expectations of strong consumer spending in the short term, especially with the figures for net lending, mortgage approvals and consumer credit all above the six-month average.

There will be no major surprise surrounding the data given that overall spending data, including retail sales, have been very strong. In particular, the October annual growth rate in retail sales was the strongest since 2002.

Spending is likely to remain strong in the short term and the robust housing-market tone will be seen as justification for the Bank of England cutting interest rates in August.

The central bank is expecting consumer spending to slow next year, but a further surge in borrowing would increase pressure for monetary policy to be tightened.

Sterling edged higher after the data with GBP/USD breaking above 1.2450 and EUR/GBP dipping to 0.8500, although this primarily reflected wider flows. Gilts were resilient and unchanged on the day, while the FTSE index declined close to 0.50% with weaker commodity prices a negative influence.

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Tim is a contributing author to He is an economist and has been involved in financial markets for over 20 years as an analyst. He specialises in global economic trends, macro policy and central banks. Extensive knowledge, experience and data mining is used to anticipate trends in equities, bonds and forex with a contrarian slant. He is a graduate of the University of York with a degree in Economics/Econometrics.