Mid-sized companies less likely to spend to expand: Survey

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Fewer mid-sized companies expect to make additional investments in their businesses or seek more loans than a year ago, according to a survey in the United States (US) by banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Only 35 per cent of executives at the companies said they anticipate increasing capital spending in the next 12 months, down from 44 per cent a year earlier, according to the survey released on Tuesday by the bank.

It found that 16 per cent said they will likely cut back on business investments, up from 13 per cent who last year expected to retreat.

"The bulk of companies are taking a cautious approach to capital expenditures and accessing credit," the bank said.

Fewer of the executives - 29 per cent compared with 34 per cent - expect to need more credit in the coming year for capital expenditures or working capital. About two-thirds of those with no plans for new financing said they would do without because their revenue was increasing. About one-fifth cited economic uncertainty as the reason.

Since the financial crisis, the banking industry has been struggling to find enough credit-worthy borrowers to keep lending revenue from shrinking as interest rates have declined.

Mr Jim Glassman, a senior economist at the bank, said the results are consistent with the continuing reluctance of customers of all sizes to borrow.

"Everybody is still in a cautious, don't-want-too-much-leverage mode," Mr Glassman said.

The survey was taken in February and included executives from 943 companies with annual revenue between US$20 million (S$25 million) and US$500 million.