Volatile Winter Swings Continue for Credit Managers’ Index

Those hoping for a continued positive trajectory in the monthly Credit Managers’ Index (CMI) upon its official release Friday will be in for a disappointment. February’s reading puts the CMI more in line with where the index was in a disappointing December than the triumphant rebound that followed in January.

“It appears this will be another one of ‘those’ years. At least it is starting out that way,” said Chris Kuehl, PhD, economist for the National Association of Credit Management. “The burning question is, yet again: which of these months is going to turn out to be the anomaly?”

The February numbers indicate weakness in a variety of areas. Some of the particularly worrisome areas judging from the CMI statistics include sales, amount of credit extended and dollar collections.

Manufacturing looks to be predictable volatile right now, and predicting further problems or a rebound for March and beyond is a difficult prospect at present. “Manufacturing is providing to be mysterious as the readings have been volatile and unpredictable,” Kuehl said. “There has been much conjecture regarding the impact of the winter, and analysts are mixed. Some are blaming storms and the bitter cold for a general slowdown…this suggests that the economy will improve when the weather does. The counter assertion is that there are deeper issues and recovery will not be as simple as turning the calendar pages.”

 - NACM

The complete CMI report for February2013, available Friday at www.nacm.org, will contain additional commentary, complete with tables and graphs and individual data for the manufacturing and services sectors. CMI archives may also be viewed on NACM’s website. 

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