Farm Equipment Index Moves Toward Growth

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) for October climbed above growth neutral.

The overall index rose to 51.4 from 50.1 in September. This is the highest reading since June. It also marks the third time in the past four months that the overall index has risen above growth neutral.

“Federal agriculture crop support payments and somewhat higher grain prices have boosted the Rural Mainstreet Index slightly above growth neutral for the month. Even so, almost three of four bank CEOs, or 73 percent, reported continuing negative impacts from the trade war,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

The October farm equipment-sales index improved to 39.7 from September’s 35.9. This reading is also the highest it has been since June, although at the below-50 mark, it does not yet represent growth in the market.

Borrowing by farmers for October remained strong. The borrowing index declined to a strong 68.9 from September’s 72.2. The checking-deposit index advanced to 60.8 from September’s 54.2, while the index for certificates of deposit and other savings instruments dipped to 50 from 51.4 in September.
The confidence index, which reflects bank CEO expectations for the economy six months out, fell to 36.5 from September’s 42.9, which is the lowest it has been in two years.

Each month, community bank presidents and CEOs in agriculturally and energy dependent portions of a 10-state area are surveyed regarding current economic conditions in their communities and their projected economic outlooks six months down the road. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming participate.