US new business volume was down 2% year-on-year in February at $6.1bn (€5.5bn), according to the monthly index of the US Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA).

New business volume increased by 2% compared to January. Year to date, cumulative new business volume decreased 7% compared to 2015.

Late payments over 30 days stood at 1.4%, while write-offs were 0.37%, up from 0.26% the previous month.

Credit approvals totalled 79.2% in February, up from 78% in January. Total headcount for equipment finance companies was up 3% year-on-year.

Separately, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s Monthly Confidence Index (MCI-EFI) for March is 51.6, an increase from the February index of 48.3.

ELFA president and chief executive officer Ralph Petta said: "While February origination volume is virtually flat when compared to January and the year-earlier period, credit quality shows signs of deterioration, with delinquencies and charge-offs inching upward over the same time intervals. Both metrics are worth keeping a close eye on as economic uncertainty continues to act as a drag on U.S. businesses’ decisions to invest in capital equipment. However, this seems to run counter to the Foundation’s Monthly Confidence Index, which increased over the period from February to March."

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Dave Fate, president and chief executive officer at Stonebriar Commercial Finance, said: "Trend lines for Q1 2016 are not too dissimilar to 2015; however, we expect commodity driven markets to be even more sensitive in 2016 due to shrinking capital resources, a slowing global economy and a more complex geo-political environment. We continue to see opportunities growing for non-regulated financial institutions operating in this challenging environment, especially leasing opportunities across all asset classes."