June 23 (Reuters) - U.S. companies' borrowing to spend on capital investment fell in May, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) said.
Companies signed up for $6.9 billion in new loans, leases and lines of credit last month, down 8 percent from a year earlier. Their borrowing fell 14 percent from April.
"The small decline in new business volume makes the case for a slow recovery in certain sectors of the economy in which equipment financing plays an important role," ELFA Chief Executive William Sutton said in a statement.
Washington-based ELFA, a trade association that reports economic activity for the $827 billion equipment finance sector, said credit approvals totaled 76.1 percent in May, down from 77.4 percent in April.
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 day.
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, Verizon Communications Inc, Siemens AG, Canon Inc and Volvo AB.
The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, ELFA's non-profit affiliate, said its confidence index fell to 61.4 in June from 65.4 in May.
A reading of above 50 indicates a positive outlook. (Reporting By Abinaya Vijayaraghavan; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)