The Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation has released the first quarterly update to its 2012 U.S. economic outlook. The report is focused on the $628 billion industry and forecasts equipment investment and capital spending in the United States.
The Q2 Outlook forecasts a healthy growth year for 2012, although the projected growth for this year has slowed to 7 percent from the previous outlook of 9 percent. This decline is due to a slight downgrade of growth prospects, including the expectation that high oil prices will be a significant drag, particularly during the first two quarters of the year.
The outlook reports that, overall, investment continues to be a main driver of U.S. economic growth. The report predicts that transportation equipment investment should remain “solidly positive, but unlikely to maintain the rapid growth rates of 2011.”
Small-business truckers will be interested to know that credit market conditions are reported to be improving slowly as demand for financing grows and supply constraints gradually ease. According to the report, conditions remain favorable for purchasing versus leasing, although the expiration of tax benefits may provide a marginal boost to leasing. Otherwise, the outlook reports that interest rates are near record lows and are likely to remain low through 2012.