U.S. business equipment borrowing up 4% in August

Sept 23 (Reuters) – U.S. companies borrowed 4 percent more in August compared with a year earlier, industry body ELFA said on Friday, amid concerns over the economic slowdown. sustainability has been questioned.

The companies signed $8.8 billion in new loans, leases and lines of credit last month, compared with $8.5 billion a year earlier, according to the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA). Borrowings were up 5% from January.

“With the Fed’s latest hike in short-term interest rates by 75 basis points, and the prospect of a hard landing, time will tell if — and to what extent — these business owners continue to grow and invest in equipment,” ELFA CEO Laura Alfpetta said in a statement.

ELFA, which reported economic activity in the nearly $1 trillion equipment finance sector, said credit approvals totaled 75.2 percent, down from 78 percent in July.

The Washington-based agency’s Leasing and Financing Index measures the amount of commercial equipment financed in the United States.

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

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation, ELFA’s nonprofit affiliate, said its confidence index stood at 48.7% in September, compared with 50% in August. A reading above 50 indicates a positive business outlook. (Reporting by Kannaki Deka in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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