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May 21 (Reuters) - U.S. companies' borrowing to spend on capital investment rose in April, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) said.
Companies signed up for $8 billion in new loans, leases and lines of credit last month, up 7 percent from a year earlier. Their borrowing rose 14 percent from March.
"Equipment finance companies are taking advantage of abundant, available liquidity. This, coupled with a very competitive marketplace, is creating favorable conditions for end-users to invest in capital assets to continue adding capacity," ELFA CEO 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 77.4 percent in April, slightly down from 77.8 percent in March.
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, Verizon Communications Inc, Siemens AG, Canon Inc and Volvo AB.
The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, ELFA's non-profit affiliate, said its confidence index was 65.4 percent for May, remaining at the highest index level in two years for the third consecutive month.
A reading of above 50 indicates a positive outlook. (Reporting by Sweta Singh; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)