The Rural Mainstreet Index fell to its lowest level of the year last month as farmland prices declined and agriculture equipment sales were dismal.
The index, compiled by Nebraska’s Creighton University, surveys bank CEO’s in ten Midwestern states. Overall, the index, which ranges between 0 and 100, slumped to 39.6, its lowest level since December 2016, and down from 42.2 in August. More than half of respondents reported they are restructuring farm loans while approximately 18 percent indicated their bank had increased collateral requirements.
The confidence index, which reflects expectations for the economy six months out, increased to a weak 36.1 from 35.6 in August, indicating a continued pessimistic outlook among bankers. Organizer Ernie Goss says: “Concerns about trade, drought conditions in portions of the region, and low agriculture commodity prices impaired bankers’ economic outlook for the month.”