Equipment Finance Industry Confidence Steady in July

According to the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s July 2017 Monthly Confidence Index, confidence in the equipment finance market was relatively unchanged in July from the previous two months at 63.5.

When asked about the outlook for the future, survey respondent Thomas Jaschik, president of BB&T Equipment Finance, said, “U.S. companies are poised to make significant investments in capital equipment. However, many continue to delay plans until tax and regulatory reform legislation gets on track. Until then it will be ‘wait and see.’ The equipment finance industry should see a significant increase in activity if and when this occurs.”

When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 30.3% of executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, a slight decrease from 31% in June. Those who believe business conditions will remain the same (69.7%) made up the rest of survey respondents.

There was a rise in the number of respondents who believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures will increase over the next four months, with 39.4% of survey respondents saying so in July after 17.2% said so in June. The majority of respondents (57.6%) believe demand will remain the same during the same four-month time period, down from 82.8% the previous month. Although there was a slight increase, 3% believe demand will decline, up from none who believed so in June.

“Job growth is positive and this should drive demand for capital expenditures. Maybe rising interest rates will push demand along as well,” said David T. Schaefer, CEO of Mintaka Financial.

As far as access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions, 15.2% of the respondents expect more access over the next four months, up from 13.8% in June. Meanwhile, 84.9% of executives indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, down from 86.2% last month.

When asked, 33.3% of the executives report they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, a decrease from 41.1% in June. Roughly two-thirds expect no change in headcount over the next four months, an increase from 51.6% last month. None expect to hire fewer employees, unchanged from June.

All respondents evaluated the current U.S. economy as fair and none evaluated it as poor, both also unchanged from June.

Additionally, 24.2% of the survey respondents believe that U.S. economic conditions will get better over the next six months, a decrease from 41.4% in June. A large percentage (75.8%) of survey respondents believe the U.S. economy will stay the same over the next six months, an increase from 51.7% the previous month. None believe economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, down from 6.9% who believed so last month.

“Business and economic fundamentals remain positive. Barring a geopolitical event of some magnitude this positive trend should continue,” said Harry Kaplun, president of Specialty Finance at Frost Bank.

In July, 36.6% of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, a decrease from 48.3% in June. 63.6% believe there will be no change in business development spending, up from 51.7% the previous month. None believe there will be a decrease in spending, unchanged from last month.

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