Nov 20 (Reuters) - U.S. companies' borrowing to spend on capital investment rose 2 percent in October from a year earlier, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) said on Monday, citing increased confidence in the economy.
Companies signed up for $8.4 billion in new loans, leases and lines of credit last month, up from $8.2 billion a year earlier. However, borrowing fell 3 percent from September.
"Equipment finance originations continue to grow, albeit slowly, as some sluggish market verticals show signs of rebounding. This trend, coupled with buoyed confidence in overall economic conditions, pave the way for a very healthy end-of-year bump,” ELFA Chief Executive Ralph Petta said.
Washington-based ELFA, a trade association that reports economic activity for the $1 trillion equipment finance sector, said credit approvals totaled 74.6 percent in October, up from 74 percent in September.
ELFA's leasing and finance index measures the volume of commercial equipment financed in the United States. It is designed to complement the U.S. Commerce Department's durable goods orders report, which it typically precedes by a few days.
ELFA's index is based on a survey of 25 members that include Bank of America Corp, BB&T Corp, CIT Group Inc and the financing affiliates or subsidiaries of Caterpillar Inc, Deere & Co, Verizon Communications Inc, Siemens AG, Canon Inc and Volvo AB.
The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, ELFA's non-profit affiliate, said its confidence index for November was 67, up from 63.7 in October.
A reading of above 50 indicates a positive outlook. (Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas; Editing by Bernard Orr)