NACM’s Credit Managers’ Index for October Returns to Prior Levels, Sits at 62.6

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October report from the National Association of Credit Management dismisses September’s poor performance. Readings for deductions, disputes and past due accounts climb out of contraction, enforcing the notion of resilience in the economy.

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Given the progress made through the course of the year, many were shocked at the low numbers registered in September...but the domestic economy is showing some resilience and that is reflected in the numbers for October’s CMI

The October report of the Credit Managers’ Index (CMI) from the National Association of Credit Management returned to a respectable status, jumping more than two points from 54.9 to 57.0. The readings are back to highs seen at the start of the year. The index of favorable factors cleared 60 comfortably and now sits at 62.6, which is still off the pace set in July and August, but is trending in the right direction again. The fall of the index of unfavorable factors to 50.9 last month was concerning as it was the lowest point reached in almost two years, but its impressive gain this month to 53.2 reaches back to March readings. This means that the concerns about the state of creditors have eased a little.

“The rebound in the data this month could be referred to as stunning were it not that last month felt like an anomaly,” said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, PhD. “Given the progress made through the course of the year, many were shocked at the low numbers registered in September and theories abounded to explain the slump—everything from reaction to politics to the impact of the weather.” Most analysts attributed the slow progress to events outside the US, which remain a concern in the overall business community. The US has been affected by the collapse of the European economy and the slow progress in China and other parts of Asia. “This global slowdown is still a factor and will likely put something of a damper on the US economy through the rest of the year and into next, but the domestic economy is showing some resilience and that is reflected in the numbers for October’s CMI,” Kuehl said.

Within the favorable factors, positive movement bodes well for the rest of the year. Sales jumped from 60.9 to 65.7, a significant improvement indicating that many sectors of the economy started to come back to life last month. The sales data were reinforced by other data released of late. Industrial production has improved as did capacity utilization and factory orders. New credit applications’ growth was more modest, from 59.0 to 59.4, but is trending in a positive direction. Dollar collections improved significantly from 59.9 to 61.5, but amount of credit extended went down from 64.0 to 63.8. “The performance here coupled with new credit applications suggests that the crash in performance last month made many companies a little more cautious with credit this month,” Kuehl said. “The good data this month may well reverse that trend in the months to come.”

Unfavorable factors were the big concern last month. “The sense was that many companies had invested in expansion at the start of the year and the sluggish economy had made it hard to make that investment pay off,” Kuehl said. “Now there is some evidence that progress is being made in the economy and these companies are expanding as they had expected to earlier.” Rejections of credit applications improved from 52.5 to 53.6, which matches up well with the credit access data from the favorable factors. There was also improvement in accounts placed for collection from 50.7 to 52.7, showing some of the stress has eased up and creditors are catching up, and in filings for bankruptcies, which sits at 58.1, nearly the same as it was in July and a vast improvement over last month’s 55.8. All three factors previously in contraction territory rose above 50. Disputes climbed from 49.2 to 50.4, dollar amount beyond terms moved from 47.2 to 53.6 and dollar amount of customer deductions recovered by improving from 49.8 to 50.8. “The sense overall is that much of the crisis atmosphere has dissipated and most creditors are staying current as far as their obligations are concerned,” Kuehl said. “The rapid rebound this month is support for the notion that last month was an anomaly and perhaps a reaction to some of the issues that emerged globally toward the end of summer.”

For a full breakdown of the manufacturing and service sector data and graphics, view the complete October 2014 report at http://web.nacm.org/CMI/PDF/CMIcurrent.pdf. CMI archives may also be viewed on NACM’s website at http://web.nacm.org/cmi/cmi.asp.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CREDIT MANAGEMENT
NACM, headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, supports more than 15,000 business credit and financial professionals worldwide with premier industry services, tools and information. NACM and its network of affiliated associations are the leading resource for credit and financial management information, education, products and services designed to improve the management of business credit and accounts receivable. NACM’s collective voice has influenced federal legislative policy results concerning commercial business and trade credit to our nation’s policy makers for more than 100 years, and continues to play an active part in legislative issues pertaining to business credit and corporate bankruptcy. NACM's annual Credit Congress & Exposition conference is the largest gathering of credit professionals in the world.

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