(Reuters) - U.S. companies’ borrowing to spend on capital investment rose 12.9 percent in July from a year earlier, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) said.
Companies signed up for $7.9 billion in new loans, leases and lines of credit last month, up from $7.0 billion a year earlier. However, their borrowing fell 19.4 percent from June.
“Business fundamentals appear solid, with low unemployment, continued low interest rates and an active equities market buoying the economy,” ELFA President and CEO Ralph Petta said.
Washington-based ELFA, a trade association that reports economic activity for the $1 trillion equipment finance sector, said credit approvals totaled 76 percent in July, relatively unchanged from 75.9 percent in June.
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 (BAC.N), BB&T Corp (BBT.N), CIT Group Inc (CIT.N) and the financing affiliates or subsidiaries of Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N), Deere & Co (DE.N), Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N), Siemens AG (SIEGn.DE), Canon Inc (7751.T) and Volvo AB (VOLVb.ST).
The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, ELFA’s non-profit affiliate, said its confidence index was 64.4 for August, up from 63.5 in the last two months.
A reading of above 50 indicates a positive outlook.
Reporting by Pranav Kiran in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva