Activity Levels Showing Improvement

Mold Business Index for July 2005

Activity levels for North American moldmakers once again showed improvement in the past month, and the supply-related issues (rising materials prices and longer supplier delivery times) that were a problem in the first half of the year also appeared to get better. Based on the latest industry survey for the Mold Business Index (MBI), the MBI value for July was 56.7. The New Orders, Production, Employment and Backlog sub-indices all advanced, with the only negative factor being another reported rise in Materials Prices.

New Orders

According to our survey, orders for new molds have steadily increased in recent months. We expect this momentum to be sustained through at least the second half of 2005.

The sub-index value for New Orders of molds was 63.4, which means that the number of new orders was significantly higher when compared with the previous month. The New Orders chart below shows a gradual rise in new orders data in recent months, and continued improvement in this component will generate consistent gains in the other components. Production activity in July also increased, as the latest Production sub-index was 63.4. The Employment component for July was 57.3, which indicates that the total number of workers in the industry increased again during the past month. The industry’s total backlog was longer, as the July Backlog sub-index was 56.1.

The Mold Prices sub-index for June was 53.7. This means that prices for new molds were steady-to-up when compared with the previous month. The prices paid for materials also continue to rise, albeit at slower rate than the month before, as the latest sub-index for Materials Prices is 65.9. Supplier Delivery Times were stable in the aggregate, with this sub-index posting a value of exactly 50.0 in July. The Future Expectations sub-index for July indicated that moldmakers were even more optimistic than they were the month before. The latest value was 81.7.

Our forecast continues to call for gradually rising activity in the plastics manufacturing and tooling industries throughout most of the remainder of 2005. Plastics processors are still in a cyclical upturn in spending on new capital equipment. This combined with the continued rise in overall spending on industrial equipment in the U.S. indicates that the demand for new molds will remain in a gradual uptrend for the foreseeable future. Most of the major economic indicators suggest that manufacturing levels in the U.S. increased in recent weeks, and the U.S. economy’s crucial leading indicators are still in a sustainable expansionary phase.

July 2005
 
%
Positive
%
Equal
%
Negative
Net %
Difference
Sub-Index

New Orders
Production
Employment
Backlog
Export Orders
Supplier Deliveries
Materials Prices
Mold Prices
Future Expectations

44
44
20
37
0
12
32
17
68
39
39
75
39
100
76
68
73
27
17
17
5
24
0
12
0
10
5
27
27
15
13
0
0
32
7
63
63.4
63.4
57.3
56.1
50.0
50.0
65.9
53.7
81.7
Total Mold Business Index for July 2005: 56.7. The total Mold business Index is a weighted average of the sub-indices for new orders, production, employees, backlog, exports and supplier deliveries. The MBI is based on a monthly survey from which a diffusion index is calculated based on 50.0. A value above 50.0 indicates that business activity expanded, while a value below 50.0 means that business levels declined.

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