Confidence in the US equipment finance market has hit its highest level since 2009, according to the latest data from the Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation.

The Foundation’s monthly confidence index reached 75.3 in January, an increase from 69.4 in December, which marks a peak since its launch almost a decade ago.

Survey respondent Valerie Hayes Jester, president of Brandywine Capital Associates, said: “Activity has picked up since the midpoint of the fourth quarter and 2017 closed on a very positive note. The year is off to a great start even with some of the weather issues plaguing the country. I'm hoping the new tax laws will keep this optimism in full gear.”

Two-thirds of executives (67.7%) believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, double the proportion (32.1%) in December. Just 29% now believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, a decrease from 67.9% the previous month.

In addition, 67.7% believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures will increase over the next four months, an increase from 46.4% in December.

In addition, 25.8% of the leadership teams polled evaluate the current US economy as “excellent”, up from 10.7% last month, while 61.3% believe that economic conditions will get “better” over the next six months, an increase from 42.9% in December.

Dave Fate, president and CEO, Stonebriar Commercial Finance, said: “The passing of tax reform as well as the continued easing of the burdensome regulatory environment have created additional optimism in the business communities that we serve.”