The May Credit Managers' Index (CMI) report from the National Association of Credit Management (NACM), available starting Friday morning on the association’s website (www.nacm.org), reflects a small increase from April. May’s combined index is back to 54.1, the same reading as recorded in February. While the reading is certainly respectable and better than initial data indicated in the early spring, most of last year saw a higher combined score—in the 56 range.
“The word of the day seems to be ‘incremental,’” said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, Ph.D. “There are still signs of growth and some stability. The problem is that there was an expectation of more by this time.”
Favorable factors declined this month, but remain close to the 60s. Meanwhile, the index of unfavorable factors is treating far too close to the contraction zone for comfort. Therein, one disconcerting area is the sales category, which is flirting with its worst numbers in about two years following the May decline. “This suggests that there remains a lot of caution among consumers and business buyers alike—something that has been reinforced by the durable goods data of late,” said Kuehl.
Good news, however, can be found in the rebound of two unfavorable factors categories, accounts placed for collection and dollar amount beyond terms, that exited the dreaded 40s and returned expansion zone.
“The year-over-year trend is slightly off and is closer to the contraction zone than it has been,” said Kuehl. “There is no imminent danger of sliding under 50 anytime soon, but by the same token there will be little flirting with the 60s either.”
- NACM staff