March CMI Plummets as Outbreak Continues

Not much good will come by looking at the raw numbers of the March Credit Managers' Index from NACM, yet it's not all bad. Despite a massive 7.2-point combined decline in March, mostly due to only a couple factors, there are several places to find some hidden gold. The coronavirus has hampered the global economy for weeks, but it is only now actual...
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New Home Sales Dip; Still Strong

New single-family home sales are on the decline; however, new data from the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development does not include the recent impacts of the coronavirus. The joint announcement states February's seasonally adjusted rate is 765,000, down 4.4% from January, but 14.3% ahead of February 2019. Economists predicted...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 23, 2020

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM EconomistShort Items of Interest—US EconomyFed Reacts with More Liquidity While Congress seems bogged down once again and may be delayed by several days and perhaps weeks, the Federal Reserve jumped back into the fray as Monday dawned. The latest actions are similar to those taken as the economic crisis of 2008 took hold...
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Existing-Home Sales Hit 13-Year High

Existing-home sales in the U.S. jumped to a 13-year high in February; however, the gains should be taken with a grain of salt as the data was collected before the coronavirus became so widespread. Sales of single-family homes, townhouses, condos and co-ops increased 6.5% from January, according to the National Association of Realtors. February was ...
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Insolvencies to Increase in 2020

Insolvencies across the globe will increase in 2020, mainly as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. According to credit insurer Atradius, corporate insolvencies in advanced economies are expected to increase 2.4% this year, up 1% from 2019. Business failures in the U.S. will level off at 2% in 2020, down from 2.5% the previous year. "The outbreak ...
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ISM: COVID-19 Disrupting Supply Chains

The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to wreak havoc on businesses. In the first round of survey results from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), released earlier this week, roughly three-fourths of companies said they have experienced disrupted supply chains due to COVID-19 from transportation restrictions. "The story the data tells is that ...
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Record Construction Spending Starts 2020

Construction spending in the U.S. hit a record high to start 2020. Total construction spending improved 1.8% in January from the revised December data, according to a Census Bureau release earlier this week. The increase is the most in roughly two years, and the $1.369 trillion is a record high. Spending is also 6.8% higher in January than it was i...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for February 21, 2020

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM Economist—Short Items of Interest—US EconomyAnother Rough Year Ahead for Farmers The latest outlook from the Department of Agriculture is a depressing one. The expectation is that 2020 will be another hard one for the farming sector. The prices for the most commonly produced commodities are still down and expected to fal...
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Retail Sales Improve Slightly in January

Retail and food service sales saw a slight increase in January. The Census Bureau announced Feb. 14, 2020, that sales were up 0.3% from December 2019 and 4.4% from January 2019. Sales between November 2019 and January 2020 were also ahead 4.4% from the same period the previous year. However, retail sales alone were only improved by 0.1% from Decemb...
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ACH Growth Hits 12-Year High

ACH growth is at a 12-year high after huge improvements in 2019. The ACH Network saw nearly 25 billion payments last year, an almost 8% jump from 2018. The total value of the payments was nearly $56 trillion, which is an increase of nearly 9% from the previous year. Business-to-business (B2B) transactions also continued to climb in 2019. B2B paymen...
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Construction Spending Dips in December

Construction spending declined slightly to end 2019. According to the Census Bureau, December spending dipped 0.2% below the revised November estimate. However, construction spending in December was 5% above that of December 2018. "A solid gain in residential spending was not enough to offset a drop in nonresidential," states a release from Wells F...
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CMI Begins 2020 with a Bang

The Credit Managers' Index (CMI) is off to an overwhelming start to 2020. While other indices such as the purchasing managers' index are down to begin the new year, the CMI rebounded in January from a down December to reach a nearly three-year high. "Given that credit managers tend to think in the future, this month's good data may be seen as a har...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for January 24, 2020

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyImproving Business ConditionsAs 2019 came to an end, there was some difference of opinion as far as what to expect in the coming year. There have been some headwinds and concerns, but it was not clear whether these would really inhibit growth plans. It now appears that most of these concerns seem manageable and m...
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Existing-Home Sales Skyrocket in December

Existing-home sales improved to a near two-year high in December. Sales jumped 3.6% from November, according to data released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) earlier this week. Total sales, which include single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops, increased 3.6% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.54 million. Sales are up nearly...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for January 20, 2020

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM Economist—Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyAggressive TargetsNow that the U.S. and China have seemingly called a truce, all eyes have shifted to a more monitoring position—Can the Chinese really live up to their promises? Given the reaction of the business and economic community, it seems there are many skeptics. The ...
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Housing Starts Hit 13-Year High

Privately-owned housing starts exploded in December to a 13-year high. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Census Bureau, housing starts increased 16.9% in December above November's revised estimate. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,608,000 is nearly 41% better than December 2018. "The big jump in the last month...
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Dodge Momentum Index Continues Rise

The Dodge Momentum Index continued to rise as 2019 came to a close. The construction-spending indicator released by Dodge Data & Analytics improved 1.5% in December to a reading of 156.2. December was the fourth-straight month of increases. For the full year, the Index was 3.7% below the 2018 average, but the institutional and commercial compon...
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Construction Spending Increases in November

Construction spending is on the rise as data for 2019 continues to flow in the new year. According to the Census Bureau, spending reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.324 trillion in November 2019, up 0.6% from the previous month. This is also more than 4% higher than November 2018, and it's the best November showing on record, dating ba...
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New Home Sales Increase After Downward Revision

New single-family home sales are on the rise after the previous month's rate was revised downward. The Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development announced earlier this week new home sales in November were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 719,000, up 1.3% from October. Year-to-year, sales were up 16.9% from November 2018's estima...
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Existing-Home Sales Fall Flat in November

Existing-home sales fell flat in November despite the anticipated decline. Economists predicted sales would slip 0.2% in November, according to Reuters, but they actually dropped eight times more than expected. Existing-home sales took a 1.7% step back, states the National Association of Realtors (NAR). However, sales are still up 2.7% from a year ...
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