Asset finance new business fell 5% year-on-year in March to £3.3bn, with IT equipment recording a particularly steep fall, figures from the Finance and Leasing Association have shown.
This brought the quarter to a negative close, with new business down 3% year-on-year for the three months to March, to £7.6bn. Excluding high value deals, new business fell 3% in March and 1% over the quarter.
In March, IT equipment took the biggest hit, with business down 24% to £196m. Plant and machinery also fell 9% to £654m.
Commercial vehicles and car finance proved more resilient, down 2% to £849m and 7% to £1bn respectively. The only asset class that saw a rise was business equipment, up 14% to £259m.
Among facility types, operating leases fell noticeably, down 13% to £714m.
The sales finance and broker finance channels saw falls in originations of 10% to £998m and 4% to £579m respectively. Direct finance was more resilient, and grew 1% to £1.6bn.
Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “The asset finance market recorded its third highest monthly new business total in March at more than £3.3 billion.
“However, the latest figures reflect some of the recent slowdown in the UK economy, with new finance for agricultural and construction equipment 1% and 8% lower in March than in the same month in 2017.”