April 30 U.S. small businesses boosted borrowing
in March, signaling a renewal of confidence in growth prospects
after an unusually harsh winter crimped investment.
The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index,
which measures the volume of financing to small companies, rose
to 115 in March from 111.6 in February, PayNet said on
It was the first monthly gain since December, and marked an
18 percent increase from a year earlier.
The year-on-year increase, the biggest in more than two
years, reflects more optimism among small business owners and
"signals some continued strengthening" for the U.S. economy
overall, PayNet founder Bill Phelan said.
After stumbling badly in the first quarter, the U.S. economy
appears set for a rebound, with economists predicting that
growth this quarter will come in at an annualized rate of 3
percent or more.
Federal Reserve policymakers are set to wrap up a two-day
meeting on Wednesday with a decision to continue reducing the
U.S. central bank's bond-buying stimulus at a measured pace,
reflecting their expectations that despite increasing momentum
the economy still needs plenty of support.
A separate index released by PayNet showed loan
delinquencies only slightly above recent record lows.
Delinquencies of 31-to-180 days, PayNet's broadest measure of
late loan payments, ticked up to 1.48 percent of all loans made.
The index hit a high of 4.73 percent in August 2009. The
record low was 1.44 percent last October.
PayNet collects real-time loan information such as
originations and delinquencies from more than 250 leading U.S.
(Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Leslie Adler)