TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian small business lending picked up slightly in May from April to halt a five-month slide, PayNet data showed on Monday, but appetite for loans remained subdued and a measure of delinquencies hit its highest since 2011.
PayNet’s Canadian small business lending index ticked up to 118.7 in May from 118.4 in April. A measure of lending to medium-sized businesses fell to 213.5 from 217.8.
“It tells us there probably won’t be a lot of GDP expansion over the next several months,” said PayNet President Bill Phelan. “There just isn’t a lot of investment going on by these private companies.”
The 30-day delinquency rate combining small and medium-sized businesses rose to 1.34 percent from 1.28 percent, while the amount of loans that were more than 90 days behind on payments held steady at 0.32 percent.
The 30-day rate was the highest since July 2011.
Loan growth by industry was mixed, with accommodation and food business lending falling sharply, retail and transport down, construction and agriculture relatively flat, and wholesale and manufacturing notching gains.
The picture was similarly varied geographically, with lending in Alberta, Ontario and Atlantic Canada down while Manitoba and British Columbia picked up.
PayNet tracks the lending habits of around 750,000 small and medium sized businesses across Canada via input from lenders.
Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Sandra Maler