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British banks approve fewer mortgages in November

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The number of mortgages approved by British banks fell slightly last month after hitting a five-month high in October, while consumer credit continued to expand strongly, industry figures showed on Wednesday.

[LONDON] The number of mortgages approved by British banks fell slightly last month after hitting a five-month high in October, while consumer credit continued to expand strongly, industry figures showed on Wednesday.

The British Bankers' Association (BBA) said banks approved 40,659 mortgages in November, falling from 40,835 in October and down nine per cent compared with a year ago.

Credit card lending increased by 231 million pounds (S$409.86 million), the biggest increase in four months.

British consumers brushed off June's Brexit vote and drove the economy to expand faster than expected in the third quarter, but higher inflation next year looks set to curb household spending.

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The BBA pointed to a strong increase in personal bank account deposits, up 1.2 billion pounds on the month.

"This growth in personal deposits may ... suggest that consumers are looking to grow their cash reserves against potential economic uncertainties, such as an expectation of lower wage growth," said Rebecca Harding, BBA chief economist.

REUTERS

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