U.S. companies borrowed 8% less to finance equipment investments in October compared to a year ago as some businesses felt the impact of high interest rates, industry body Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) said on Monday. Washington-based ELFA reports on the economic activity for the nearly $1-trillion equipment finance sector and surveys banks like the Bank of America and financing affiliates of equipment makers like Caterpillar, Dell Technologies DELL.N, Siemens AG, Canon Inc and Volvo AB
Year-to-date, cumulative new business volume was up 0.7% compared to 2022.
“Despite a set of sound metrics in the U.S. economy, participants report slight increases in both losses and delinquencies,” ELFA CEO Ralph Petta said. “This softness in credit quality is indicative of the challenges experienced by some businesses as they operate in a higher interest rate environment, constrained in some sectors, at least, by reports of a pull-back in bank lending,” Petta added. “The trends are consistent with the economic environment and market turmoil resulting from quantitative tightening, inflation, employment and supply chain disruption,” said Dennis Bolton, Head of North America Equipment Finance at Gordon Brothers.
U.S. companies signed up for $10.4 billion worth of new loans, leases and lines of credit in October, up from $9.7 billion a month ago, ELFA said.
Credit approvals also improved month-on-month, touching 76% in October, up from 73.6% in September.
The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, ELFA’s non-profit affiliate, said its confidence index in November stood at 42.8, an increase from 40.1 in October. A reading above 50 indicates a positive business outlook. (Reporting by Aatreyee Dasgupta in Bengaluru; Editing by Tasim Zahid)