The weak money supply figures did not prevent the stock market surging to a new peak, helped by Wall Street. The FT-SE 100 index rose 44.4 to a record 3,491.8.
The narrow money supply measure M0 - cash plus banks' balances at the Bank of England - rose by an unexpectedly muted 0.3 per cent last month, pulling the annual growth rate down from 5.8 to 5.3 per cent.
Don Smith, of Midland Global Markets, said recent Bank of England figures on banknotes in circulation were weak. 'The notes in circulation data suggest that consumers concentrated spending in the first part of January, but since then have cut back again.'
The British Bankers' Association reported that net lending for mortgages by large British banks fell 16 per cent to pounds 733m in December, after adjusting for seasonal factors.