NACM’s Credit Managers’ Index (CMI) continued its pattern of fluctuating up and down over the past year. September’s combined index score increased 0.4 points to 58.1 following the 0.7-point loss seen in August. Compared with September 2020, however, the score improved by 2.1 points.
“While these shifts are not dramatic, the trend is once again positive and in some notable areas,” said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, Ph.D. “The rapid growth at the start of the year was unexpected and so was the decline that occurred at the end of the summer. Now there seems to be a recovery of sorts, and that was not altogether expected either.”
The combined index of favorable factors held at 66.0 compared with August. Of the four categories comprising the index, sales numbers improved the most (1.8 points) as it returned to the 70s for the eighth time in the last 13 months. New credit applications also improved—albeit 0.6 points. Dollar collections took the biggest hit (1.7 points) to 61.1.
“Companies seem to be ordering more than is normal and requiring additional credit,” Kuehl said. “Although an increase in demand could be the reason, businesses are likely stockpiling materials due to concerns about the stability of supply chains.”
The combined score for unfavorable factors nudged upward with a 0.7-point gain to 52.8. Rejections of credit applications and filings for bankruptcies held fairly stable with only 0.1-point losses, 52.1 and 57.3, respectively. Accounts placed for collection held at 51.7, while the amount of customer deductions gained 2.2 points (52.3) and dollar amount beyond terms, 0.3 points (51.9). Following two months of numbers in the high 40s, disputes left the contraction zone with a 1.8-point jump to 51.3.
For a complete breakdown of the manufacturing and service sector data and graphics, view the September 2021 report at https://nacm.org/pdfs/cmi/CMI_September2021.pdf. CMI archives may also be viewed on NACM’s website at http://www.nacm.org/cmi/cmi-archive.
This article first appeared in the NACM eNews. It is used with permission.