NEMA's Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American conditions rebounded in January, rising nearly nine points to 57.1 points.
The index is derived from responses to a survey circulated to senior executives of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, Va. A value above 50 points indicates that more respondents reported that the business environment improved from the previous month than reported that it worsened. The index had fallen below 50 points in December for the first time in five months, but this latest reading suggests that the modest improvements in conditions that characterized much of the second half of 2009 have persisted into early 2010.
Moreover, the EBCI for future North American conditions pushed further upward in January, posting its second consecutive monthly gain. Rising 14.3 points to 78.6 points, the index recorded an eleventh straight reading above 50 points, and reached its highest level since December 2004. This result reflects widespread sentiment that business conditions will improve over the next six months. Indeed, 17 of the 28 respondents to this month's survey (60.1 percent) reported that they expect an improvement in the next six months, compared to only one respondent expecting deterioration.
Global markets looked very promising as well, with only Europe registering a slight decline in current economic conditions, sliding from 52.6 points in December into negative territory at 47.4 points in January. However, its future conditions increased 9.2 points in January. Latin America's EBCI looked best, with current and future economic conditions increasing 9.1 points and 12.7 points, respectively. The Asia-Pacific region saw increases of 0.3 points and 3.9 points, respectively, in its current and future economic conditions.