The statement made by this month’s Credit Managers' Index, available now at www.nacm.org, was essentially “steady as she goes.” The CMI fell by less than a point from February, with both favorable and unfavorable factor indexes dipping by roughly equal amounts. Some sub-factors showed significant movement, but there was no clear signal from any of the factors as far as financial stress is concerned, or anything to cause much confidence either.
Among areas of concerned is a notable decline in sales levels in March, though it not far off the pace of late 2012. “The main concern is that for the last year, the sales reading has been averaging in the low 60s and now there seems to be a struggle to get there again,” said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, PhD. On the encouraging side, the new credit applications foretell a desire for expansion on the part of businesses.
“Businesses are starting to more aggressively pursue credit,” said Kuehl. “However, serious issues remain in balancing the desire for more credit and creditworthiness.” He also added that unfavorable factor index statistics indicated there are more companies in distress than was the case a month or two earlier, and that likely reflects the consternation regarding government inactivity on key issues.
Overall, the economist noted that the March CMI is “telling roughly the same story as other economic indicators of late…Nothing is suggesting a return to recession, but neither is there a sure sign of an imminent breakout in the manufacturing or service sectors.”
For complete March CMI data and analysis, visit http://web.nacm.org/cmi/cmi.asp.