April results for NACM's Credit Managers’ Index mark an improvement from the sentiment one month ago. In addition, newly revised statistics from the February and March editions of NACM’s CMI illustrate a more positive picture that preliminary numbers indicated a few short weeks ago.
The revised 53.4 reading in March rose to 53.9 in April, according to data, which will be unveiled by NACM Friday morning. Still, there are troubling issues within the unfavorable factors categories. “This is a month with some mixed messages,” said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, Ph.D. “This [month] is good, but it is also evident that the last couple of months did some damage, as there are weak numbers throughout the unfavorable categories. It would appear that a collapsed energy sector, winter worries and trepidation regarding dollar values and the interest rate weighed pretty heavily on past months.” He added that most of these concerns likely won't be in play by summer.
April’s statistics show small gains from the revised numbers of March, which were decidedly better than preliminary data show, in areas like sales, new credit applications and dollar collections. Kuehl indicates that the May CMI will be a bit of a bellwether to determine if most of the index's recent roller coast behavior will cease with potentially stabilizing energy prices and better weather.
Kuehl noted that revisions to the CMI in March and February changed the results of only a few of the categories, with the most dramatic update coming in the amount of credit extended category. Those categories have returned to the 60s, and the latest numbers mark the second consecutive month of gains, a first since June through August of 2014.
“Upon reviewing the data and assessing some additional numbers, it seems that there was not quite the drama originally noted,” Kuehl said.
- NACM staff