Figures released by the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA), a trade association for the US leasing equipment sector, showed that new business volume for January 2020 was $9.2bn, up 28% year-on-year from January 2019.

The ELFA cited its monthly leasing and finance index, which reported on economic activity from 25 companies representing a cross-section of the $900bn (£698bn) equipment finance sector.

Volume was down 29% month-on-month at $12.9bn in December 2019, from £7.8bn in November 2019.

Separately, the monthly confidence index for February was 58.7, easing from the January index of 59.9, according to the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, a US non-profit organisation.

Ralph Petta, the president and chief executive of the EFLA, said: “The year starts off with a bang as January new business volume increases dramatically on a year-over-year basis. Underlying fundamentals in the US economy — strong job growth, low inflation, low-interest rates, a continuation of a bull equities market and solid business confidence — all add up to a growing demand for productive equipment necessary to keep businesses expanding and profitable.”

Stephen Hamilton, chairman and chief executive of CSI Leasing Inc, said: “2019 was another record year for CSI, with lease originations up 15 per cent worldwide to over $1.4bn (£1.08bn), led by a strong increase of 23 per cent in our US business.

“Back-office efficiencies and use of technology have allowed this to occur with no increase in our US leasing headcount. Our traditional focus on successful middle-market to large corporate customers has resulted in continued strong credit performance with minimal write-offs.

“Optimism is high for 2020, with a solid start in January and a record pipeline of first-quarter business on tap, although we expect uncertainty regarding the impacts of the coronavirus and the November elections could slow customer decision-making in coming months.”

The ELFA represents companies in the equipment finance sector, which includes financial services companies and manufacturers engaged in financing capital goods. Its 575 members include independent and captive leasing and finance companies, banks, financial services corporations, broker/packagers and investment banks, as well as manufacturers and service providers.

The figures were released ahead of the US recording any effects on the economy from the coronavirus or Covid-19, something that the industrialised Western nations are beginning to predict will have an impact as February comes to an end.