New business for asset finance in the UK was down 6% year-on-year in September, to £2.7bn (€3bn), figures from the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) have shown.
Excluding high value items, which in September accounted for around £10m, the fall was softer, at -2%.
Plant and machinery finance and car finance suffered the biggest slowdown at -8%, to £494m and £888m respectively. IT equipment also saw a fall of 4%, to £212m.
Business equipment finance held steadier at +4% to £219m, as did commercial vehicle finance, up 1% to £711m.
All finance products showed a slowdown in sales, with operating leases hit the heavies, down 6% to £655m.
Direct finance was still the main channel for deals, accounting for £1.2bn of business, but was down 5% year-on-year. The broker channel also saw a 4% fall, to £520m, while sales finance rose 3% to £937m.
Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “September was a quieter month for the business car and plant and machinery finance sectors. Nevertheless, the asset finance market has returned a strong performance so far in 2017, with new business overall 6% higher than in the previous year. Over the same period, UK business investment is forecast to have grown by only 2.3%.
“Recent data revisions by the Office for National Statistics suggest that the asset finance industry’s contribution to supporting business investment is even greater than previously thought. FLA calculations show that the industry financed more than 35% of UK investment in machinery, equipment and purchased software in the twelve months to June 2017 – an eight-year high.”