UK banks see higher demand for credit card borrowing - BoE

FILE PHOTO: Shoppers on Oxford Street during Boxing Day sales in central London, December 26, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Lenders in Britain are expecting increased appetite for credit card borrowing in the coming months after a weak end to 2019, the Bank of England said on Thursday.

The BoE’s gauge of demand for credit card borrowing by households over the next three months rose to 14.3, nearly hitting its level of the second quarter, after falling to 1.8 in the third quarter.

Britain’s consumers have helped drive the country’s economy since the Brexit referendum in 2016 which caused companies to cut their investment.

The BoE survey showed demand for borrowing by companies fell in the fourth quarter. It was expected to rise slightly for small firms but fall among larger companies in the first quarter of 2020.

The survey also showed banks reported demand for mortgages fell in the fourth quarter and was expected to fall again in the first quarter of this year.

The BoE report was conducted between Nov. 25 and Dec. 20, straddling the Dec. 12 election which gave Prime Minister Boris Johnson an unexpectedly large majority in parliament which eased some of the political uncertainty hanging over the economy.

Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Andrew MacAskill