In the wake of the vast majority of EBCI panel members’ reporting unchanged conditions, the December current conditions component narrowed to 50 points after hitting 58.8 last month. An undercurrent of unease and uncertainty rippled through many comments, touching on trade concerns, weakness in the industrial sector and the impeachment drama. However, similar to last month’s EBCI report, the quantitative results were probably best reflected in the remark noting, “Business conditions are steady but at a high level.”
The ElectroIndustry Business Conditions Index (EBCI) is a monthly survey of senior executives at electrical manufacturers published by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, VA. Any score over the 50-point level indicates a greater number of panelists see conditions improving than see them deteriorating.
A sharp upswing in the share of respondents expecting better conditions in six months pushed the future conditions component to its highest reading since June 2018. The forward-looking indicator benefitted from a pullback in the share of “unchanged” responses. One survey respondent noted improved expectations for a strong year, and others offered conditional optimism largely centered around the satisfactory resolution of trade and tariff battles.