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Lending figures up 1.1% in December

Total lending to individuals grew by £9.4bn (1.1%) in December – £0.6bn higher than November&#39s rise, figures from the Bank of England reveal.

The three-month annualised growth rate rose to 14.7% from 14.6% in November.

Secured lending outstanding grew by some £7.5bn or 1.1% in December, £0.1bn higher than the rise in November. Gross advances were £0.6bn higher at £20.9bn.

The number of loans approved for house purchase in December was 116,000, seasonally adjusted, compared to the average of 120,000 in the three months to November.

Consumer credit grew by £1.9bn or 1.2% in December, seasonally adjusted, £0.5bn higher than November&#39s rise.

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Strong dollar can be a powerful driver of UK dividend growth in 2015

By Robin Geffen, fund manager and CEO 

This year threatens to be a challenging one for UK dividend hunters. Last year saw an all-time record amount paid out in UK dividends — some £97.4bn, according to research from Capita Dividend Monitor. Yet as Capita also pointed out, out the biggest single factor driving the growth in the fourth quarter of last year was easy to identify: the rising US dollar. 

In our view, this trend is much more than simply a one-quarter phenomenon. It is actually the most profound issue to get right as a UK equity income investor in 2015. We believe that the US dollar will continue to strengthen significantly from its current level. This is due more to the US economy’s demonstrable de-coupling from the rest of the world than to a view on the UK. The US has a strong chance of tightening monetary conditions this year without jeopardising growth or de-stabilising its housing market. The same can unfortunately not be said about the UK.

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