© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Caterpillar (Cat) Excavators is seen working at a construction site near the New York Harbor in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., March 4, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
(Reuters) – U.S. companies borrowed 1% more in May compared to a year earlier to finance equipment investments, industry body Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) said on Friday.
The companies signed up for new loans, leases and lines of credit worth $9.5 billion last month, up from $9.4 billion a year ago.
“We have seen some small signs of localized stabilization with previously shy banks and finance companies slowly showing interest in exploring equipment finance assets,” said Daryn Lecy, chief operating officer at Oakmont Capital Services — an equipment finance broker.
ELFA, which reports economic activity for the nearly $1-trillion equipment finance sector, said credit approvals totaled 76.4%, down from 77.3% in April.
“The tightened liquidity remains a concern,” Lecy added.
Washington-based 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 (NYSE:) and financing affiliates or units of Caterpillar (NYSE:), Dell Technologies (NYSE:), Siemens AG (OTC:), Canon Inc and Volvo AB (OTC:).
The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, ELFA’s non-profit affiliate, said its confidence index in June stood at 44.1, an increase from 40.6 in May. A reading above 50 indicates a positive business outlook.