Reports on credit management, industrial production and consumer spending are looking bullish, although there continues to be some signs of slowing. Economic growth appears to be in place, according to the July Credit Manager’s Index (CMI) released today by the National Assn. of Credit Management (NACM). The CMI was 56.7% for the month, which is above the positive 50% and over level.
This does mark a 1.1% reduction from the 57.8% posted in June, however. According to Dan North, chief economist with the credit insurer Euler Hermes ACI, the decline was the result of two related factors: the amount of credit extended and volatile sales.
“This data suggests that the decline was more related to volatile top-line growth as opposed to a more deeply rooted deterioration in credit conditions,” said North. “While downward trends in many of the other components of the Index could represent headwinds arising from tightening monetary conditions, higher energy prices, and weakness in Europe, the overall Index continues to reflect reasonably strong economic growth.”
NACM said that the manufacturing sector appears to be cooling off, ending the month of July at 56.9%. Lower sales and amount of credit extended pushed favorable factors down, while lower amounts of customer deductions and accounts placed for collections helped boost the unfavorable factors up.
A Federal Reserve released for June activity showed manufacturing output rose 0.4%. For the second quarter, the manufacturing output index moved up a modest 1.5%. The production of consumer goods rose 1.2% in June. A decline in the output of steel in June contributed to a 2.2% drop in the index for primary metals, which fell at an annual rate of 24.7% in the second quarter.
The American Trucking Assns. (ATA) reported a 0.2% drop in freight tonnage in June, despite the fact that “most economic indicators rose during the four-week period.” ATA said that a decline in production of heavy products, such as steel and chemicals, may have affected the index, which is based on surveys of ATA’s membership.
Consumer spending, the biggest pull on the supply chain, rose a robust 0.8% in June, while disposable personal income, or total income and interest less taxes, rose 0.5%, the U.S. Dept. of Commerce said yesterday.