FXstreet.com (Barcelona) - Consumer lending posted an unexpected increase in December, although yet in levels below the historical average, while mortgage lending rose twice the level it was in November, according to data released by the Bank of England.

Total lending to individuals was GBP2.2 billion in December, from GBP 1.6 billion revised in November, instead of a decline to GBP 1.3 billion forecasted by market analysts. Nevertheless, lending to individuals has dropped 3.6% in the whole 2008.

Mortgage approvals have risen to 31,000 in December from 27,000 in November, while mortgage lending totalled GBP1.9 billion, up from GBP0.8 billion in November.

Net consumer credit declined to GBP0.3 billion in December from GBP0.75 billion in November, falling well below the GBP0.8 billion expected by the market.