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“The Inventories Index says that manufacturers are making sure that they have
sufficient inventories of raw materials to
cover these new orders,” explains Holcomb.
“There’s also some indication of shortages
of supplies and hoarding of materials in
some categories. Fifty-three is really a good
number to be at in an environment of not
just growth, but accelerating growth.”
Exports, Imports & Prices
ISM’s New Export Orders Index registered
56.5 percent in May, which is 0.5 percentage point lower than the 57 percent
reported in April. May’s reading reflects
growth in the level of exports for the 18th
consecutive month. ISM’s Imports Index
registered 54.5 percent in May, which is
3. 5 percentage points lower than the 58
percent reported in April. This month’s
reading represents 16 consecutive months
of growth in imports.
“The export of finished goods is at 56.5,
down just half a point from a very strong
57 percent from last month,” says Holcomb.
“This continues to show that for 18 consec-
utive months the world really likes our fin-
ished products. In total, Imports is down 3. 5
percentage points, but we’re still importing
considerable amounts of raw materials from
other countries. A good flow of imports and
exports continues to be the case.”
The ISM Prices Index registered 60
percent in May, which is an increase of 3. 5
percentage points compared to the April
reading of 56.5 percent. In May, 31 percent
of respondents reported paying higher
prices, 11 percent reported paying lower
prices, and 58 percent of supply execu-
tives reported paying the same prices as in
April. A Prices Index above 49.7 percent,
over time, is generally consistent with an
increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics
(BLS) Index of Manufacturers Prices.
“I think the Prices Index is fairly indif-
ferent for now, but stay tuned to this,” ex-
plains Holcomb. “Price increases generally
happen within the first quarter. This seems
to suggest that it’s been extended a little
bit. It could be the result of a frigid first
quarter where price negotiation meetings
weren’t able to take place. Having said
that, I’m not concerned about the 60 per-
cent. Our semi-annual report was released
earlier this month by the same panel and
it is predicting something in the neighbor-
hood of a 2 to 2. 5 percent increase for the
entire year on raw materials. So we’re well
within that predicted range.”
In his role as the chair of the Institute
for Supply Management Manufacturing
Business Survey Committee, Bradley J. Hol-
comb writes the monthly Manufacturing
ISM Report on Business. For more informa-
tion on the Institute for Supply Manage-
ment, visit www.ism.ws.