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August FDI Accelerates Amid ‘Positive’ Market Trends

August FDI Accelerates Amid ‘Positive’ Market Trends
September 12
00:09 2017

The Fastener Distributor Index for August reached 62.7, driven “mainly by improved sales trends,” writes R.W. Baird analyst David Manthey.

“In the August survey, 70% of respondents indicated sales were “better” relative to seasonal expectations, well above July levels (47%).”

August’s sales index of 77.1 suggests selling conditions remain “very healthy” overall, according to Manthey.

“Pricing was again a solid tailwind for the second consecutive month as 61% of distributors saw higher prices y/y. This resulted in an FDI pricing index of 78.8 – the highest reading in over two years.”

Manthey found most respondents continue to view inventory levels as relatively in line with expectations (79% of responses), while 21% indicated inventory levels are too low. This compares to July results of 70% and 30%, respectively.

August’s seasonally adjusted Forward-Looking Indicator ticked down modestly to 59.9 vs. 62.9 in July. The Forward-Looking Indicator averaged 49.7 during 2016, but has averaged 60.9 year-to-date in 2017.

“Market conditions appear likely to remain in growth mode in the coming months,” Manthey noted.

Consistent with improved sales momentum, hiring sentiment also picked up slightly, with 30% of respondents indicating employment was higher in August relative to seasonal expectations vs. 17% in July, while 64% saw hiring levels as in line with seasonal expectations (vs. 73% in July). This resulted in an FDI Employment Index reading of 62.1, up vs. July’s 53.3 reading and continuing a pattern of growth for YTD results (61.8 average YTD vs. 48.9 in 2016).

Survey commentary on current market conditions was “universally positive” in August, with several respondents noting improved end-market conditions driving strong top-line growth.

“Recovery in all sectors of our business is improving,” one distributor reported.

Another respondent indicated a significant uptick in demand is already being seen from disaster recovery efforts.

“Hurricane Harvey is creating a lot of business!”

One respondent commented pointed to sharply increased pricing from overseas, along with longer lead and quote times.

“Obviously, business is up.”

The FDI is a monthly survey of North American fastener distributors, conducted with the FCH Sourcing Network and the National Fastener Distributors Association. Web: fdisurvey.com

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