U.S. business borrowing for equipment falls 3% in November: ELFA

FILE PHOTO: Cranes are seen among construction equipment in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, U.S., February 10, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - U.S. companies’ borrowings for capital investments fell about 3% in November from a year earlier, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) said on Thursday.

The companies signed up for $7.8 billion in new loans, leases and lines of credit last month, down from $8 billion a year earlier. Borrowings fell 23% from the previous month.

“Uncertainty brought on by the prolonged trade frictions with China...was partly responsible for this slowdown,” ELFA Chief Executive Officer Ralph Petta said, adding that credit markets were performing well, with losses and delinquencies in acceptable ranges.

Washington-based ELFA, which reports economic activity for the nearly $1-trillion equipment finance sector, said credit approvals totaled 75.7% in November, down from 76.3% in October.

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 typically follows a few days later.

The index is based on a survey of 25 members including Bank of America Corp BAC.N, BB&T Corp BBT.N, CIT Group Inc CIT.N and the financing affiliates or units of Caterpillar Inc CAT.N, Dell Technologies Inc DELL.N Siemens AG SIEGn.DE, Canon Inc 7751.T and Volvo AB VOLVb.ST.

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation, ELFA’s non-profit affiliate, reported monthly confidence index of 56.2 in December, up from the November index of 54.9, ELFA said.

A reading of above 50 indicates a positive business outlook.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli