OTTAWA (Reuters) - Commercial borrowing by small business in Canada picked up in November but the regional breakdown continued to indicate a shifting economy, with activity in commodity-sensitive provinces declining, data from PayNet showed on Friday.
PayNet's Canadian small business lending index rose to 135.2 from a downwardly revised 132.5 in October. After declining in October, the index of lending to medium-sized firms rebounded to 212.7 from 204.8.
The picture was less upbeat on an annual basis, with small business lending rising 4 percent but medium-sized businesses seeing activity drop by 14 percent compared to a year ago.
The data is collected by small business credit rating agency PayNet as reported by lenders. A small business is defined as one that has less than C$1 million ($696,378.83) in total credit outstanding, while medium businesses have between C$1 million and C$10 million outstanding.
"The story is still one of shifting from west to east," said PayNet's president Bill Phelan.
"It takes a long time for a big economy like Canada's to transition and that big change is playing out a little bit slower than I had thought."
In Alberta, where the country's vast oil sands are located, the gauge of small business lending fell to 193.7 from 196.0. But in Ontario, where it is hoped the manufacturing sector will benefit from cheaper oil, activity edged up to 158.7 from 157.8.
The delinquency rate remained stable, with the percentage of small businesses that were 30 days or more behind on loans holding at 0.92 percent in November. The share of firms that were 90 days or more behind edged down to 0.31 percent from 0.32 percent.
Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli