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LOCAL PURCHASING EXECS REPORT UNEQUIVOCAL STRENGTH

 DETROIT, April 1 /PRNewswire/ -- March's survey of the National Association of Purchasing Management-Metro Detroit (NAPM-MD) underscores the strong business conditions prevailing in the industrial economy of Southeastern Michigan. The Composite Index of business conditions rose to 60.6 in March, compared with 59.0 in February. This 1.6-point gain represents the second consecutive increase for 1993 and the 14th straight month in which the regional economy has been expanding.
 Comment
 "The two most notable features of the March survey were the `above-70' levels of new orders and production activity reported by both auto and non-auto respondents, and the surge in the number of purchasing managers reporting higher prices for commodities," said David L. Littmann, first vice president & senior economist, Comerica Bank.
 "Typically, upward price pressure develops in the general economy if the purchasing managers' price index moves into the 60 to 70 range. During March, this index hit 67.0. If this persists, then inflation, higher short-term interest rates and greater shortages would follow. Labor market pressures have not yet ratified commodity price pressures. In March, the employment index remained below 50.0 at 47.0," Littmann said.
 The list of items in short supply during March lengthened. It included hydroxyautic acid, surface-mount electronic components, lamps, some tires, some IBM components, taps and cutting tools, flat-roll, bar and wire steel, large vehicle filters and some floppy discs.
 AUTO NON-AUTO TOTAL
 MAR FEB MAR FEB MAR FEB
 NAPM-MD Index 60.2 56.0 60.7 60.5 60.6 59.0
 Production 73.5 63.9 73.3 71.4 73.4 68.9
 New Orders 76.5 61.8 73.4 70.0 74.5 67.3
 Inventories 64.7 52.9 48.4 50.0 54.2 51.0
 Employment 41.2 55.9 50.0 47.1 47.0 50.0
 Vendor Performance 38.2 35.3 46.9 50.0 43.9 45.1
 Prices 76.5 67.6 62.1 60.0 67.0 62.5
 Weighting 34.0 34.0 66.0 66.0 100.0 100.0
 Comerica Bank compiles the NAPM-MD survey report from monthly responses of local purchasing managers belonging to the 500-member NAPM-MD (National Association of Purchasing Management- Metro Detroit). The report indicates whether fundamental measures of the economy are stronger, weaker or unchanged from the prior month.
 The Composite Index (CI) is a seasonally adjusted weighted average measure of new orders and production activity along with employment, inventories and the promptness of supplier company deliveries. The index ranges from 0 to 100. A CI below 50 generally means conditions are deteriorating; CI levels above 50 denote expansion. The CI and its components have been tabulated since October 1985.
 -0- 4/1/93
 /CONTACT: David L. Littmann, First Vice President & Senior Economist, Comerica Bank, 313-222-7241/
 (CMA)


CO: Comerica Bank ST: Michigan IN: FIN SU: ECO

DH -- DE008 -- 1923 04/01/93 10:04 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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