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Late Session Selling

By David Robinson
     LONDON (MNI) - Secured household credit lending flat-lined in the first
quarter of 2018 and demand fell markedly, a Bank of England survey published
Thursday showed.
     The BOE Q1 Credit Conditions Survey adds to the evidence of a housing
market that is at best treading water, with consumers increasingly reluctant to
borrow against properties. Secured credit to households was unchanged in the
first quarter and lenders expected no change in Q2.
     Demand for secured lending fell sharply in Q1 with decreases in both prime
and buy-to-let lending.
     While media reports have talked up unsecured borrowing the Q1 BOE survey
did not bear this out. Overall demand for unsecured lending fell in Q1, with a
substantive decrease in credit card borrowing.
     The percentage balances showed the availability of secured credit was a net
3.8% among lenders in Q1, compared to a net 1.5% in Q4 and down from 2017's high
of 10.05 in Q2.
     Unsecured credit availability fell to -38.7% in Q1 from -12.4% in Q4 and
for the next three months the balance rose to 3.7% from -24.3%.
     Bank officials have repeatedly played down the reported rise in unsecured
credit, with levels well below pre-crisis one, and these latest data suggest
that borrowing is faltering.
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2223; email: david.robinson@marketnews.com
[TOPICS: MABDS$,M$B$$$,M$E$$$]
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 | les.commons@marketnews.com