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TORONTO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Commercial borrowing by small and medium-sized businesses in Canada jumped to a record high in the third quarter as companies invested more to meet demand for their goods and services, a PayNet survey showed on Tuesday.
PayNet, which tracks commercial financing for millions of North American small and medium-sized businesses, said its Canadian Business Lending Index rose to 224, the highest level since the index began in 2005, from 206 in the second quarter.
That made for a 32 percent jump from a year earlier, while the figure for lending in the second quarter was also revised slightly higher. The index has been rising steadily since late 2010.
Companies are making capital investments to meet demand and ramp up productivity so that they can do more with less, said Anthony Zambon, director of PayNet Canada.
"It's not just the replacement of rolling stock ... it's investment in machinery and equipment that's going to permit them to be more productive in the demand for the goods and services that they have right now," Zambon said.
While growth was seen across sectors, the manufacturing, retail, transportation and agriculture industries in particular were stronger than a year earlier, Zambon said.
Moderate loan delinquencies - those that are behind in payments by 30 days or more - rose to 1.5 percent of loans in September from 1.4 percent the month before.
Loans that were more than 90 days late, which are considered severe loans in arrears, eased to 0.3 percent from 0.4 percent.