After five straight months of gains, the Credit Managers’ Index (CMI) -- unveiled today at www.nacm.org -- showed an unsettling decline. Granted, the slide is far from drastic, and the CMI sits at a level exceeding that of nine of the previous 11 months.
The decline in the CMI is consistent with other data released in recent weeks. The numbers are not suggesting an imminent crisis, and nothing that approaches the return to recession being seen in Europe. However, it indicates that the robust growth that started the year has faded somewhat, provoking concerns the economy will start to retreat for the third time in as many years.
Said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, PhD: “Spring 2012 did feature tensions in Iran sufficient to force the price of oil up for a while, and the financial crisis in Europe has had almost as much impact on the global economy as the  disaster in Japan.”
Among the biggest drags on the CMI were declining sales impact on the index of favorable factors and dollar amount of customer deductions category within the unfavorable factors side.
Kuehl characterizes the present CMI as one in a "fragile situation" that is close to contraction, but he noted there are also several reasons to remain upbeat.
Brian Shappell, CBA, NACM staff writer
(NOTE: The April CMI is now available. Visit www.nacm.org to view the full breakdown. Additional coverage is also coming to this week's eNews, available Thursday afternoon).