- Net lending to individuals in the U.K. rose more-than-expected in December, indicating worsening credit conditions, official data showed on Thursday.

In a report, the Bank of England said total net lending to individuals increased by GBP2.3 billion in December, up from a revised GBP1.8 billion in November. Analysts expected net lending to individuals to rise by GBP1.9 billion last month.

Net secured lending rose by GBP1.7 billion, above expectations for an increase of GBP1 billion, after rising by GBP1.1 billion in November.

Net consumer credit, including personal loans, overdrafts, and credit card lending, increased by GBP0.6 billion, down from GBP0.7 billion in the previous month.

The report also showed that the number of final mortgage approvals rose to 72,000 last month from 71,000 in November. Economists had expected mortgage approvals to rise to 73,000 in December.

Following the release of the data, the pound held on to losses against the U.S. dollar, with GBP/USD shedding 0.41% to trade at 1.6496.

Meanwhile, European stock markets remained lower. London’s FTSE 100 fell 0.45%, the EURO STOXX 50 declined 0.75%, France’s CAC 40 shed 0.6%, while Germany''s DAX inched down 0.5%.

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