The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation (the Foundation) releases the September 2017 Monthly Confidence Index for the Equipment Finance Industry (MCI-EFI). Designed to collect leadership data, the index reports a qualitative assessment of both the prevailing business conditions and expectations for the future as reported by key executives from the $1 trillion equipment finance sector. Overall, confidence in the equipment finance market is 63.7 in September, easing from the August index of 64.4.
When asked about the outlook for the future, MCI-EFI survey respondent David Normandin, CLFP, Managing Director, Commercial Finance Group, Hanmi Bank, said, “The U.S. economy is showing signs of optimism in the small business sector. Combined with recent natural disasters, I believe that this creates an environment in which business will invest in opportunities for recovery. These opportunities will require equipment.”
September 2017 survey results:
The overall MCI-EFI is 63.7, easing from 64.4 in August.
When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 29% of executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, a decrease from 38.2% in August. 67.7% of respondents believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, an increase from 61.8% in August. 3.2% believe business conditions will worsen, an increase from none who believed so the previous month.
38.7% of survey respondents believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures (capex) will increase over the next four months, a slight increase from 38.2% in August. 61.3% believe demand will “remain the same” during the same four-month time period, up from 58.8% the previous month. None believe demand will decline, a decrease from 2.9% who believed so in August.
9.7% of the respondents expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, down from 17.7% in August. 90.3% of executives indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, up from 82.4% last month. None expect “less” access to capital, unchanged from last month.
When asked, 38.7% of the executives report they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, a decrease from 41.2% in August. 58.1% expect no change in headcount over the next four months, an increase from 55.9% last month. 3.2% expect to hire fewer employees, an increase from 2.9% in August.
6.5% of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “excellent,” up from none last month. 93.6% of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “fair,” a decrease from 100% in August. None evaluate it as “poor,” unchanged from last month.
22.6% of the survey respondents believe that U.S. economic conditions will get “better” over the next six months, a decrease from 23.5% in August. 71% of survey respondents indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, a decrease from 76.5% the previous month. 6.5% believe economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, an increase from none who believed so in August.
In September, 45.2% of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, an increase from 38.2% in August. 54.8% believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, a decrease from 58.8% the previous month. None believe there will be a decrease in spending, down from 2.9% last month.