June 22 (Reuters) - Borrowing by U.S. companies to spend on long-term investments rose 13 percent in May from a year earlier, a survey by trade group showed, indicating higher confidence in the economy’s growth prospects.
Companies signed up for $7.7 billion in new loans, leases and lines of credit in May, according to the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA).
“Although certain verticals and industry sectors are performing better than others, overall demand for capital equipment continues the positive momentum begun in the first few months of the year,” ELFA Chief Executive Ralph Petta said in a statement. Washington-based ELFA, a trade body that reports economic activity for the $1 trillion equipment finance sector, said credit approvals totaled 77 percent in May, up from 75.9 percent in April.
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.
The 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, the trade group’s non-profit affiliate, said its confidence index rose slightly to 63.5 in June from 63.2 in May.
A reading of above 50 indicates a positive outlook. (Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)