Coronavirus Uncertainty Hits Equipment Finance Market

March 18, 2020
Equipment leasing and finance industry confidence dips in March amid uncertainty around coronavirus.

The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation releases the March 2020 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 $900 billion equipment finance sector. Overall, confidence in the equipment finance market in March is 46.0, a decrease from the February index of 58.7.

“The fundamentals of our economy continue to be strong. The current events in the worldwide markets and the impact of COVID-19 are impacting the very near term,” says survey respondent Valerie Hayes Jester, president, Brandywine Capital Associates. “Business demand for equipment finance is always based on the long-term perspectives of the commercial sectors, and I do not believe that pessimism is the predominant emotion in our customer base. 2019 was a strong year and I have no reason to believe that demand will not continue to increase in the future. I did not agree with the Federal Reserve’s action of lowering rates, and I don’t believe that the decrease will have any impact on the equipment acquisition decisions of small businesses.”

Findings include:

  • When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 3.7% of executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, down from 11.5% in February.
  • 3.7% of the survey respondents believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures will increase over the next four months, a decrease from 7.7% in February.
  • 14.8% of the respondents expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, a decrease from 19.2% in February.
  • When asked, 29.6% of the executives report they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, a decrease from 30.8% in February.
  • 18.5% of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “excellent,” down from 38.5% the previous month.

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