TORONTO Feb 19 Commercial borrowing by small
and medium-sized businesses in Canada jumped in the final
quarter of last year to hit a record high, helped by increased
appetite for loans from companies in the oil patch, a PayNet
survey showed on Wednesday.
PayNet, which tracks commercial financing for millions of
North American small and medium-sized businesses, said its
Canadian Business Lending Index rose to 223 in the fourth
quarter from a downwardly revised 209 in the previous quarter.
The fourth-quarter reading was the highest level since the
index began in 2005. The index has been on the rise since late
"Right now, the credit environment is very good for Canadian
small business because the demand is there for their goods and
services," said Anthony Zambon, director of PayNet Canada.
Companies in the mining and oil extraction sector, as well
as firms that service that industry, helped drive the index
higher, along with the retail and transportation sectors, said
On the downside, borrowing activity from construction and
manufacturing companies decreased in the quarter, he said.
Moderate loan delinquencies - those that are behind in
payments by 30 days or more - edged up to 1.54 percent of loans
in December from 1.53 percent the month before.
Loans that were more than 90 days late were down slightly to
percent 0.25 from 0.26 percent.
"The balance sheets of these small and medium-sized
businesses are in very good shape, so that is a very favorable
sign for the Canadian economy," said Zambon.