(Reuters) – Borrowings by U.S. companies for capital investments rose 21% in August from a year earlier, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) said on Thursday.
The companies signed up for $8.5 billion in new loans, leases and lines of credit last month, up from $7 billion a year earlier. However, borrowings fell 14% from the previous month.
“August data show some softness in equipment demand resulting from a mix of summer doldrums, continued supply chain disruptions and lingering pandemic-related woes,” ELFA Chief Executive Officer Ralph Petta said in a statement.
“Business optimism, which peaked earlier in the summer, also has waned somewhat.”
Washington-based ELFA, which reports economic activity for the nearly $1-trillion equipment finance sector, said credit approvals totaled 76.3%, down from 76.5% in July.
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, CIT Group Inc and the financing affiliates or units of Caterpillar Inc, Dell Technologies Inc, Siemens AG, Canon Inc and Volvo AB.
The Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation, ELFA’s non-profit affiliate, reported a monthly confidence index of 60.5 in September, down from 66.6 in August.
A reading above 50 indicates a positive business outlook.
(Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)