U.S. business borrowing for equipment rises 2% in January – ELFA

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– U.S. companies borrowed 2% more in January to finance their investments in equipment compared to a year earlier, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) said on Wednesday, as firms ramp-up production to meet demand.

Companies signed up for $8.3 billion in new loans, leases and lines of credit last month, compared with $8.1 billion a year earlier. Borrowings rose 2% from December.

“Despite persistent supply chain disruptions in several collateral categories and nagging inflation, the equipment finance industry picks up in January where it left off last year,” said Ralph Petta, ELFA’s chief executive officer, in a statement.

ELFA, which reports economic activity for the nearly $1-trillion equipment finance sector, said credit approvals totaled 78.4%, marginally down from 78.6% in December.

The Washington-based body’s leasing and finance index measures the volume of commercial equipment financed in the United States.

The index is based on a survey of 25 members, including Bank of America Corp, CIT Group Inc and financing affiliates or units of Caterpillar Inc, Dell Technologies Inc, Siemens AG, Canon Inc and Volvo AB.

The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, ELFA’s non-profit affiliate, said its confidence index for February was at 61.8%, down from 63.9% in January. A reading above 50 indicates a positive business outlook.

(Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

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