June 30, 2015 / 9:00 AM / 2 years ago

U.S. small-business borrowing drops in May - PayNet

June 30 (Reuters) - Borrowing by U.S. small businesses dropped 8.2 percent in May from a record level the previous month, driven by weakness in firms tied to agriculture, government and mining, according to data released on Tuesday.

The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index fell to 128.5 from a revised April reading of 140. That downwardly revised figure nonetheless marked the index’s high-water reading since it was launched in 2005.

“I think a breather was in order” after a string of strong monthly gains, PayNet founder Bill Phelan said, adding that the industries driving the decline have been on a downward trend for months, but bright spots - such as transportation and construction - remain.

“We still have this expansion trend intact ... I don’t view May’s number as bad news,” he said.

The index, which was up 3 percent in May from a year earlier, has historically tracked ahead of U.S. gross domestic product growth by two to five months.

U.S. GDP contracted at a 0.2 percent annual rate last quarter. Data since then has been stronger, with home sales, retail sales, consumer sentiment and job market data all suggesting momentum in the economy is building.

The delinquency rate on loans more than 30 days past due held in May at 1.52 percent, separate data from PayNet showed, suggesting no deterioration in financial health.

PayNet collects real-time loan information such as originations and delinquencies from more than 250 leading U.S. lenders. (Reporting by Ann Saphir, editing by G Crosse)

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