Friday, December 22, 2017

Farm Economy: Creighton's Rural Mainstreet Index Improves for December

From Creighton University, December 21: 

Rural Mainstreet Index Improves for December:
Retail Sales Soar to Highest December Reading Since 2014
December Survey Results at a Glance:
*   The overall index expanded from November’s weak reading, but remained below growth neutral. Over the past year, the overall index is up by 11 percent.
*   Retail sales unexpectedly soared for the month. 
*   Bankers reported an average yearly cash rent per acre of $205 which is down by approximately 10 percent from two years earlier.
*   Only slightly more than one-fifth, or 20.4 percent, of bankers reported that their local economy was expanding.
*   Approximately one in three bankers reported a decline in bank-financed farmland purchases over the past two to five years. This continues a downward trend in bank-financed farmland purchases. 

OMAHA, Neb. (Dec. 21, 2017) – The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index improved from November’s weak reading but remained below growth neutral, according to the latest monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy. 
Overall: The index, like all indices in the survey, ranges between 0 and 100 with 50.0 representing growth neutral, expanded to 47.8 from 44.7 in November. While the overall index remained below growth neutral, it is up approximately 11.4 percent from December, 2016.  

“While the overall Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) for December remained below growth neutral, this is the highest December reading that we have recorded since 2014. Clearly, based on our recent surveys, the negatives are getting less negative,” said Ernie Goss, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business. 

Only one-fifth, or 20.4 percent, of bank CEOs reported that their local economy was expanding.  While this indicator remains bearish, it is well up from the 8.7 percent reporting an expanding local economy in February 2016.

Farming and ranching: The farmland and ranchland-price index for December rose to 39.8 from 36.5 in November. This is the 49th straight month the index has fallen below growth neutral 50.0.

The December farm equipment-sales index improved to 29.3 from November’s 26.2. This marks the 52nd consecutive month the reading has dropped below growth neutral, 50.0.

Bankers reported an average yearly cash rent per acre of $205 which is down by approximately 10 percent over the past two years.

Banking: Borrowing by farmers climbed for December as the loan-volume index stood at 67.1, up from November’s 49.1. The checking-deposit index fell to 47.8 from November’s 59.4, while the index for certificates of deposit and other savings instruments slumped to 42.1 from 44.8 in November....MUCH MORE