The US Composites Industry in 2018: A strong start
The January Composites Fabricating Index was at 58.4
Registering 58.4 for January, the Gardner Business Index (GBI): Composites Fabricating started 2018 only slightly below the peak reading recorded in 2017. The January reading sustained strong fourth-quarter 2017 performance, which averaged 56.5, with the peak coming in October, surpassing 59.0. Compared to the same month one year earlier, the Index had increased approximately 8 points. The Gardner Intelligence review of the underlying data for the month indicates that Production and Supplier Deliveries lifted the Index higher while Backlogs and Exports held the Index down. That said, no Index component showed contraction (<50.0) during the month.
As January closed out, GBI survey respondents indicated that Production and New Orders had been, in recent months, the most significant drivers of the overall Index, followed by Employment and Supplier Deliveries. During that same period, New Orders growth had exceeded Production growth. In such instances, Gardner Intelligence has commonly found a near immediate upswing in either Backlogs or Exports or both. The data from third-quarter 2017 and January 2018 indicate that both Backlogs and Exports are increasing, suggesting that a growing portion of New Orders may be coming from foreign consumers. A 9% decrease in the value of the US dollar during 2017 also might explain some of the increase in demand from customers based outside the US during that four-month period.