US business borrowing for equipment down 7 pct in August - ELFA
Sept 23 (Reuters) - U.S. companies borrowed less in August to invest in new equipment ranging from industrial equipment to aircraft, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) said.
Companies signed up for $6.4 billion in new loans, leases and lines of credit last month, 7 percent less than a year earlier. The borrowing fell 11 percent from July.
"Uncertainty surrounding heightened U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict coupled with a potential federal government shutdown and a looming debt-ceiling fight between Congress and the Obama Administration may be responsible for some businesses pulling back on their equipment acquisition plans," ELFA Chief Executive William Sutton said in a statement.
Washington-based ELFA, a trade association that reports economic activity for the $725 billion equipment finance sector, said credit approvals totaled 79.1 percent in August, up from 78.6 percent in the previous month.
ELFA's leasing and finance index measures the volume of commercial equipment financed in the United States. It is designed to complement the U.S. Commerce Department's durable goods orders report, which it typically precedes by a few days.
ELFA's index is based on a survey of 25 members that include Bank of America Corp, BB&T Corp, CIT Group Inc and the financing affiliates or subsidiaries of Caterpillar Inc, Deere & Co, Dell Inc, Verizon Communications Inc, Siemens AG, Canon Inc and Volvo AB.
"Credit quality remained strong, however, as both delinquencies and losses were very low, particularly compared to the year-earlier period," Sutton said.
The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, ELFA's non-profit affiliate, said its September confidence index stood at 61.3, steady with the August index of 61.0.
A reading of above 50 indicates a positive outlook.
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