Money supply and credit conditions remain tight

CONSUMER credit, excluding mortgages, rose by just £100m in March, considerably below economists’ expectations, the Bank of England said yesterday,

And the Bank’s preferred gauge of money supply, M4 excluding intermediate other financial corporations rose by 0.1 per cent on the month -- down 1.1 per cent on the same time last year.

“Today’s money and credit data are in keeping with the recent pattern of sagging consumer and business sentiment and a very difficult lending environment,” said Chris Crowe of Barclays Capital.

“The data also give hints that bank credit availability remains poor for small firms,” added Citigroup’s Michael Saunders.

“There was a further rise – to a new record high – in the average spread between small bank loans to companies (less than £1m) and large loans, over £20m,” Saunders noted.