September 22, 2015 / 7:00 PM / 5 years ago

U.S. business borrowing for equipment falls in August: ELFA

Sept 22 (Reuters) - U.S. companies’ borrowing for capital investment fell 7 percent in August, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) said.

Companies signed up for $6.9 billion in new loans, leases and lines of credit last month. Their borrowing fell 18 percent from July.

“With the Fed poised to increase short-term interest rates for the first time in nine years, we will be watching very carefully any impact - perceived or real - on the overall U.S. economy and our sector in particular,” ELFA Chief Executive William Sutton said in a statement.

Year-to-date, cumulative new business volume increased 6 percent compared to 2014, ELFA said.

Washington-based ELFA, a trade association that reports economic activity for the $903 billion equipment finance sector, said credit approvals totaled 79.3 percent in August, up from 78.6 percent in July.

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, BB&T Corp, CIT Group Inc and the financing affiliates or subsidiaries of Caterpillar Inc, Deere & Co, Siemens AG , Canon Inc and Volvo AB.

The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, ELFA’s non-profit affiliate, said its confidence index fell to 61.1 in September from 67.4 in August.

A reading of above 50 indicates a positive outlook. (Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru)

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