Britain's biggest banks have decreased their net lending into the UK economy since the launch of the Bank of England's key "Funding for Lending" programme in August , data published Monday has shown.
Banks have drawn around £13.832bn from the joint BoE/UK Treasury scheme since its launch in August, the BoE said in a statement published on its website, while at the same time decreasing their net lending by and overall $1.5bn. A total of £9.5bn was drawn in the final three months of last year while overall lending fell £2.45bn, the bank said.
"Even though lending rates have fallen, it is still quite early for much extra money to have flowed from the application stage into actual loans, compared with previous plans which showed that lending was most likely to fall in aggregate without the FLS," said Paul Fisher, executive director for markets.
"I would not expect to see a return to rising aggregate quantities until we start getting data for 2013 at the earliest. Nevertheless, it does seem that we have the beginnings of a revival in mortgage activity which is visible in the approvals data and that trend is widely supported by business contacts throughout the country."
There are now 39 UK lenders participating in the scheme, the bank said, which represents around 80 percent of the UK's current lending stock.
The data will add a critically important dimension to Thursday's interest rate decision by the bank's Monetary Policy Committee following minutes of its February meeting which showed that Governor Mervyn King failed to convince his colleagues to increase the bank's £375bn programme of quantitative easing in the face of evidence that Britain may slip into an historic "triple-dip" recession this year.
RBS economist Ross Walker wrote that the MPC's reference to the "largely in line" impact of the FLS was an indication that "to the extent that FLS is yielding benefits in terms of the volume of credit flowing to the real economy, this lessens the need for additional or more radical BoE policy action".
Investors will want to see the impact of both the disappointing FLS data, the slump in February construction output reported Monday from Markit and the data provider's key indicator on service sector activity Tuesday to gauge what kind of reaction the MPC will have following the conclusion of its two-day meeting.
The pound dipped further from its two and half year low against the US dollar following the FLS data to trade at around 1.5009 while benchmark 10 year Gilt yields fell three basis points to 1.87 percent.