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People are seen on Wall Street outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York City, U.S., March 19, 2021.

BRENDAN MCDERMID/Reuters

U.S. companies borrowed $9.8 billion for capital investments in April, up 19% from a year earlier, benefiting from an economic recovery triggered by mass COVID-19 vaccinations and easing restrictions, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) said.

Borrowing in April rose 5% from the previous month, as companies across several sectors lined up for loans, leases and lines of credit.

“An increasing number of businesses are opening up, as more Americans are receiving a vaccination, traveling and otherwise trying to return to some semblance of normalcy,” ELFA Chief Executive Officer Ralph Petta said on Tuesday.

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“What we see so far in terms of capital equipment investment is indeed encouraging as we head into the summer months.”

The ELFA survey of 25 members includes Bank of America Corp. , and the financing affiliates or units of Caterpillar Inc. , Dell Technologies Inc. and Siemens AG .

Washington-based ELFA, which reports economic activity for the nearly $1-trillion equipment finance sector, said credit approvals totaled 76.3% in April compared with 77% in March.

ELFA’s leasing and finance index measures the volume of commercial equipment financed in the United States.

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation, ELFA’s non-profit affiliate, reported a monthly confidence index of 72.1 in May, compared with April’s reading of 76.1.

A reading of above 50 indicates a positive business outlook.

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