Daily News: February 4, 2014

NACM’s Credit Managers’ Index Rebounds in January

January’s reading for the Credit Managers’ Index (CMI) from the National Association of Credit Management (NACM) rebounded to 57.3, the highest point reached in more than a year and even more robust than the 57.1 notched in November.

The NACM noted that the rebound now begs the question, which of the last three months is signaling the real trend? The November CMI hit a two-year high followed by a December low that took the index back to summer levels and now the January is back to highs not seen in two years. In December, there was a palpable gloom falling over the economy where the data was concerned. The December CMI recorded a low not seen since July and it looked as if all the gains that started to accumulate in the third and fourth quarters were evaporating. The January data dispels that mood a little.

The factors comprising the CMI provide more insight, the NACM said. All of the favorable factors improved in January. Sales regained some of its former momentum and climbed back into the 60s to 61.5 after falling to 58.7 last month. New credit applications rose from 57.2 to 58.2, with the biggest improvement occurring in dollar collections, which jumped from 58.7 to 60.9, its first time over 60 since October. There was also a very significant jump in amount of credit extended from 62.6 to 65.4, marking its first time cresting over 65 since May. Finally, amount of credit extended hasn’t been this high in almost three years and shows that credit is far more accessible now than it has been in some time. The favorable factor index regained a little of its luster and is back in the 60s with a fairly comfortable margin of 61.5 compared to December’s 59.3.

The unfavorable factor index also provided some good news. The majority of the factors showed improvement and some truly regained the momentum that had been building in the months prior to December, the NACM said.

“The numbers posted in the December CMI were anything but inspiring and seemed to match a general lack of enthusiasm in the economy,” said NACM economist Chris Kuehl, PhD. “It was suggested that the low reading was likely an anomaly and, with the rebound in January, it now appears this is the case. The next set of data will attract a lot of attention as analysts seek to determine whether there is a clear trend back to more positive readings and if this will occur on a more consistent basis.”

For the complete CMI report for January 2014 click here.