GlobeSt.com: Why did you wait two years to release the IBIto the public?

|

Twist: We thought about releasing it early on, butwe wanted to make sure we felt comfortable it offered accurate anduseful information. We wanted to be sure it was working and was auseful barometer of the market.

|

GlobeSt.com: How did the indicator come about?

|

Twist: I have the unenviable task of trying topredict the future. I look at lot of data on a regular basis, and Ihave followed of other indicators. I began to think, why wouldn't Ireach out to my tenants, my actual customers, and get a feel fromthem rather than relying entirely on external data? So we tested itout. We've had pretty strong participation and results and decidedto formalize it.

|

GlobeSt.com: How does it work?

|

Twist: The IBI collects primary data fromgeographically diverse industrial facility customers who representa wide variety of "on the ground" business sectors moving inventorythrough the global supply chain. The IBI consists of two indexes:an overall business activity index and a distribution spaceutilization index. Index values above 50 represent expansion andvalues below 50 represent contraction. Both indices areindividually tabulated for AMB's markets and industry groups withinour customer base. The responses include the collective insightsfrom corporate contacts as well as from on-site industrial users;the indices have averaged more than 350 participants per month.

|

GlobeSt.com: What makes the AMB IBI different from otherindicators?

|

Twist: The most basic difference is that we have avery diverse tenant base. A lot of other indices are just certainsectors. But we have retailers, suppliers, distributors, servicesector companies, government agencies, educational organizations,warehouse companies. We can segment by industry, but we aren'tlimited to a particular industry. We can break it down byindividual metro areas, or we can look overall. Also, we look atboth space utilization and business activity and see how theyinteract. Most other macro indicators have a much narrower focus.Our data is also very timely. The October IBI is based on datagathered in October.

|

GlobeSt.com: How well has the indicatorperformed?

|

Twist: It is very highly correlated with economicconditions. Of greatest significance, the IBI leads net industrialspace absorption by a quarter with a correlation of 97% and an R2of .93 and seaborne container volume by one month with acorrelation of 85% and an R2 of .73. From July-September 2007, thebusiness portion of the survey averaged 60.1, which indicatedstrong expansion in business activity. The space survey averaged56.3 over that same period, coinciding with observed levels ofhealthy industrial space absorption. Both indices dippedsignificantly starting in November—just before the national economystarted to contract. We believe that the IBI signaled the start ofthe recession when it fell below 50 in December 2007. It wasn'tuntil December 2008 that the National Bureau of Economic Researchpronounced December 2007 as the official beginning of therecession. The index stood at an all-time low in February of 2009,with business activity and space utilization measuring record lowsof 31.1 and 36.4, respectively. Since February, the index hasexhibited an upward trend in conjunction with an improvingeconomy.

|

GlobeSt.com: How often will the indicator comeout?

|

Twist: We have the data every month. But we're not100% certain how often we will release it. Probably quarterly. Thenext release should be February.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.