The Fastener Distributor Index saw a straight straight month of slippage in December, according to the new report from the National Fastener Distributors Association (NFDA) and FCH Sourcing Network. The FDI was down to 56.5 for the month, off of 58.2 in November. It represents a two-year low for the index.
There’s some promise to be found in the Forward-Looking Indicator (FLI), which is generated from a weighted average of four measures in the survey. After hitting its own two-year low in November, at 52.5, the FLI moved up a bit to 54.1. Still below the two year average for the FLI (59.8), the number at least shows some movement in the right direction.
According to the report, several respondents noted better-than-expected sales in December, notoriously a soft month as the holidays complicate projects and product flow. In the survey, 42 percent said December sales were better than expected. In November, only 34 percent of respondents felt similarly about the state of business.
Although the survey’s FLI shows a slightly improving outlook, there remains some skepticism in the field as the new year dawns.
“I think the first quarter will closely match last year, then be down y/y for each month the rest of the year,” one respondent predicted.