January 3, 2020 / 9:36 AM / 20 days ago

UK consumers up borrowing at slowest rate since 2014 - BoE

LONDON, Jan 3 (Reuters) - British consumers increased their borrowing in November at the slowest rate in more than five years, according to Bank of England data on Friday that added to signs the economy stalled late last year.
    The growth rate in unsecured consumer lending slowed to 5.7% in the 12 months to November from 6.1% in October, the BoE said, marking the smallest increase since June 2014.
    The figures also showed credit card repayments exceeded borrowing for the first time since July 2013.
    Household spending has helped to drive Britain's economy over the last few years, helped by record levels of employment and a recovery in wage growth.
    But some BoE officials are concerned that the labour market may finally be on the turn, raising questions about the sustainability of solid rates of consumer spending.
    Investors are watching for signs that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's victory in the Dec. 12 election has lifted worries about Britain's political stability, potentially providing a much-needed boost to the economy.
    In cash terms, consumer credit rose by 563 million pounds in November after a 1.339 billion-pound rise in October, the smallest increase since November 2013, the BoE said.
    The data also showed the number of mortgages approved for house purchase edged up to 64,994 in November from 64,662 in October, compared with the consensus forecast of 64,450 in a Reuters poll of economists.
    British house price growth has slowed since 2016's Brexit referendum - with price falls in London and some neighbouring areas - and nationally price growth is around 1-2%, according to figures from the country's two main mortgage lenders.
    Earlier on Friday lender Nationwide said house prices rose in annual terms by more than 1% for the first time in more than 12 months in December.
 (Reporting by Andy Bruce and William Schomberg) 
  
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