Composites Index trending lower but still in growth mode
The GBI: Composites Fabricating Index for June registered 56.5, indicating that the US composites industry was experiencing modestly slower growth compared to the preceding three months. But seen in the context of the extended history of the Index, June’s results were still very encouraging. During 2017, for example — the best calendar year in the history of the index — the average monthly reading was 55.1. Furthermore, the Composites Fabricating Index’s lifetime average of 51.5 is significantly lower than the June reading. Compared to the same month one year ago, the Index had increased approximately 4.2%.
The Gardner Intelligence team’s review of the underlying data for the month of June indicates that the Index was pulled strongly higher by the Supplier Deliveries and Employment subindices. Concurrently, the Index, an averages-based calculation, was pulled lower by Backlog and Exports.
Growth in both Production and New Orders has slowed significantly from the blistering pace set during the first quarter of the year. In their place, Supplier Deliveries and Employment became the two most significant upward drivers of the Index’s latest performance. This change in primary drivers from New Orders and Production to Employment and Supplier Deliveries is consistent with the Gardner Intelligence team’s view that the business cycle up-swing in evidence since early 2017 is maturing. The industry, which was faced with a surge in New Orders, has made significant changes over the past 18-24 months to handle consistently greater levels of demand. The continuation of strong New Orders volumes will play a decisive role in the longevity of the current phase of the business cycle.
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