| March 1
March 1 Borrowing by small U.S. firms fell in
January to the lowest level in three months, data released on
Wednesday showed, a signal that small-business owners are not
betting on faster demand for the coming year, at least not yet.
The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index fell
to 123.3 in January from 134 in December, and was the lowest
since October, when the index sank to 119.8.
Movements in the index typically correspond with changes in
gross domestic product growth a quarter or two ahead.
U.S. President Donald Trump has embraced a range of
potential new policies, including tax cuts and infrastructure
programs, and bets those policies will boost corporate profits
have driven U.S. equities to record levels since his election in
But some of Trump's policies, including on immigration and
trade, have increased uncertainty in some sectors.
Small business borrowing is a key barometer of growth
because small companies tend to do much of the hiring that
drives economic gains.
Meanwhile, companies are not finding it any harder to pay
back existing debts, PayNet data also showed. The share of loans
more than 30 days past due was unchanged in January at 1.66
PayNet collects real-time loan information such as
originations and delinquencies from more than 325 leading U.S.
(Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)