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05/22/2017

Better & Better: Trends Report Shows Continued Improvement

Industry Trends Report

NAHAD’s May Industry Trends Report highlights favorable underlying trends with strong sales and order growth, driven by broad- based end market strength. We expect this momentum to continue through 2017, helped by tailwinds from price realization and inventory restocking.

Sales growth slowed modestly to 6% in April following 10% growth in March. April was impacted by one fewer selling day as well as from the Easter holiday shift from March (last year) to April (worth maybe a ½ day). On an adjusted basis, we estimate sales growth in April would have been roughly in-line with March. A net 1% of participants beat plan in April vs. a net 44% in March.

Sixteen of the seventeen end markets we track ranked in positive territory in April, down from seventeen in March. MRO, industrial machinery and construction equipment were the top rated markets in the month while forestry was the lone market in negative territory. Sequentially, industrial machinery showed the largest improvement while marine and power gen softened the most from March.

On an adjusted basis, we estimate sales growth in April was roughly similar to the 10% growth in March. April growth was 6% before adjusting for ~1.5 fewer selling days. Price realization improved for the fourth consecutive month to 1.2%. This is the best reading since mid-2014.

Order growth was strong and up 11% in April vs. 15% in March. Backlogs also increased 11% in April and were reported higher sequentially by a net 18% of distributors and manufacturers. Distributors and manufacturers maintained their full year outlook for 2017 at ~7% growth on average. This is up from an initial outlook of 3% and follows a decline of ~5% in 2016.

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