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February MBI at 60.4 – Growth Rate Remains Steady

 With a reading of 60.4, the MBI showed that the metalworking industry continued to grow at a steady rate.

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With a reading of 60.4, the MBI showed that the metalworking industry continued to grow at a steady rate. February marks the 19th straight month of growth. However, it appears that the industry may be ready for a breather based on the subindices.
 
New orders and production are the main drivers of the MBI when business is growing faster each month. In each of the last three months, new orders have continued to grow, but they are doing so more slowly. Production is still growing at a strong rate, but the slowing growth in orders will likely lead to slowing growth in production too. Backlog was one of the main reasons for the total MBI to continue its strong growth rate. However, given the changes in new orders and the high level of production, it seems that backlogs will start to shrink.
 
The most shocking result this month is material prices, which have reached the highest level in the history of the MBI—90.6. It can only reach 100, so material prices are growing almost as fast as possible. At the same time, the increase in prices received slowed down this month. This is putting extreme pressure on margins, something that is occurring in every index of this type.
 
Finally, the future business expectations index has dropped below its historical average, meaning that owners/managers have become relatively pessimistic regarding future business conditions.
 
For full MBI results, click here.