The latest update from the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation suggests a dip in confidence in the equipment finance sector, with its monthly confidence index standing at 63.7 in September, easing from the August index of 64.4.

When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 29% of executives responding to the Foundation’s survey said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, a decrease from 38.2% in August.

Two thirds (67.7%) of respondents now believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, an increase from 61.8% in August. There are also 3.2% who maintain business conditions will worsen, an increase from none who believed so the previous month.

Data on the proportion of respondents who believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures will increase over the next four months is largely unchanged.

However, the number who expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions has halved, down from 17.7% in August to 9.7% currently.

Survey respondent David Normandin, managing director, commercial finance group, Hanmi Bank, said: “The US 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.”

There remain concerns about the broader economic outlook, however.  Currently 71% of those polled indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, a decrease from 76.5% the previous month, while 6.5% believe economic conditions in the US. will worsen over the next six months, an increase from none who believed so in August.

 “Year to date we think clients have held back pending changes to tax policy. As tax policy appears less likely to happen this year, we do expect a pickup in activity in Q4. However, lack of consistent public policy is our biggest concern,” reported Thomas Partridge, president, Fifth Third Equipment Finance.