OTTAWA, April 20 Lending activity to small
Canadian businesses dipped in February, though borrowing by
medium-sized firms rose for the fourth month in a row on
strength in the construction sector and oil-related provinces,
data showed on Thursday.
The PayNet Small Business Lending Index declined to 116.1
from 117.2 in January, while the gauge for medium business
lending rose to 232.8 from 230.9, the highest level since
The mild pullback for small businesses and the relatively
low delinquency rate suggests companies will be poised to take
advantage of stronger economic growth when it comes, said PayNet
President Bill Phelan.
"They're not finding a lot of organic economic growth but
they're not risking a lot, they're not putting a lot of new
capital to work," Phelan said. "They're maintaining their
financial resources until the day they find some more growth."
Canada was hurt in 2015 by the sharp drop in the price of
oil, a major export, but stronger economic data recently has
suggested the economy may be turning a corner. At the same time,
oil has recovered to trade around $50 a barrel.
In oil-producing Alberta, the index of loan originations
rose to 167.1 from 166.4. Activity in Saskatchewan, which is
also sensitive to commodity prices, increased to 261.2 from
Activity in the construction sector rose to 135.4 from
133.6. Housing activity in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec
gave the sector a lift, Phelan said.
The number of small businesses that were 30 days behind on
their loans held steady at 1.11 percent, while those that were
90 days or more late remained unchanged at 0.35 percent.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)