(Reuters) – U.S. companies’ borrowings for capital investments fell about 6% in December from a year earlier, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) said on Monday.
Companies signed up for $12.1 billion in new loans, leases and lines of credit last month, down from $12.9 billion a year earlier. Borrowings in December, however, rose 66% from the previous month.
ELFA Chief Executive Officer Ralph Petta said most equipment finance sector observers would consider a single-digit decline in year-over-year new business volume tolerable, given the optimism around new U.S. stimulus measures and COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Washington-based ELFA, which reports economic activity for the nearly $1-trillion equipment finance sector, said credit approvals rose to 75.2% in December from 70.4% in November.
ELFA’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 (NYSE:), CIT Group (NYSE:) Inc and the financing affiliates or units of Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:), Dell Technologies (NYSE:) Inc, Siemens AG (OTC:), Canon Inc and Volvo AB (OTC:).
The Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation, ELFA’s non-profit affiliate, reported monthly confidence index of 59.6% in January, unchanged from December.
A reading of above 50 indicates a positive business outlook.
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