April 23 U.S. companies stepped up borrowing in
March to invest in new equipment, the Equipment Leasing and
Finance Association (ELFA) said on Tuesday.
Companies signed up for $6.8 billion in new loans, leases
and lines of credit last month, up 45 percent from February.
However, new business volume was flat compared with a year
earlier. The financing is used to buy goods such as industrial
equipment, computer systems and office furniture.
"The continued low interest rate environment promoted by the
Federal Reserve together with relatively benign fundamentals in
the broader economy bode well for businesses planning to expand
and grow in the coming months and invest in capital equipment,"
ELFA Chief Executive William Sutton said in a statement.
Washington-based ELFA, a trade association with more than
575 members that reports economic activity for the $725 billion
equipment finance sector, said credit approvals totaled 78.4
percent in March, up 1 percent from February.
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
CIT Group Inc, Bank of America Corp, BB&T
and the financing affiliates or subsidiaries of
Caterpillar Inc, Deere & Co, Dell Inc,
Verizon Communications Inc, Siemens AG, Canon
Inc, and Volvo AB.
The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, ELFA's
non-profit affiliate, said on Friday its April confidence index
fell to 54 from 58 last month, reflecting continuing concerns
over the economy and the impact of federal policies on capital
A reading of 50 marks the dividing line between a positive
and negative outlook.