CML reports 6 per cent fall in gross lending

Compared with the £34.1 billion seen in July, this equates to a fall to an estimated £32.2 billion. In addition, this figure is 3 per cent lower than the £33 billion figure for August 2006. The figures are not seasonally adjusted.

These lending figures relate to a period when the current wholesale funding pressures in the market were less pronounced.

A number of lenders have withdrawn products, amended their lending criteria, or re-priced their deals over the past three weeks. Not all the re-pricing has had the effect of increasing the cost to the consumer; some lenders have reduced the rates on their fixed rate mortgage products.

The CML believes it is too soon to say with accuracy what September lending volumes are likely to show, although initial indications suggest that lending remains robust. The reduction in available funding could in due course translate through to a reduced supply of lending, although the Bank of England's most recent interventions to support liquidity in the interbank lending market may help to restore the availability of funding more quickly than would otherwise have been the case.

CML director general, Michael Coogan, said: "Lending fell slightly in August, but was still at very high levels. We see no obvious decline in consumer demand, although some decrease in the supply of lending is being experienced in the short term as a result of the problems lenders face in raising wholesale funding.

"The events of the past week have shown us how very quickly situations can change. Even after the good news on inflation falling back, the Fed's rate cut, and the Bank of England's support for 3-month funding, it is not a given that the Bank will follow suit on cutting rates. It makes sense for consumers to continue to plan for rates at or about their current levels for the foreseeable future - we are not out of the woods yet."