Demand for Lighting Equipment rises slightly during 2010 Q3.

Press Release Summary:

NEMA's Lighting Systems Index (LSI) ticked 0.9% higher on quarter-to-quarter basis during 2010 Q3 and showed 5.6% gain on year-over-year basis. Although LSI has trended higher since hitting cyclical and all-time low during 2009 Q2, aggregate lighting equipment demand remains low. Regarding underlying mix of lighting systems products, growth was seen across all 5 groups. However, only fluorescent ballast shipments registered substantial increase in demand from one year ago.

Original Press Release:

Demand for Lighting Equipment Firms Slightly During Third Quarter of 2010

ROSSLYN, Va.-NEMA's Lighting Systems Index ticked 0.9 percent higher on a quarter-to-quarter basis during 2010Q3. On a year-over-year basis the index showed a 5.6 percent gain compared to the third quarter of 2009. Although the LSI has trended higher since hitting a cyclical (and all-time) low during the second quarter of 2009, aggregate lighting equipment demand remains at a very low level. In terms of the underlying mix of lighting systems products, growth was scattered across all five groups, but only fluorescent ballast shipments registered anything resembling an appreciable increase in demand from a year ago.

Significant weakness in both the residential and commercial markets continues to hamper demand for lighting equipment. Indeed, on the residential side of the market, new housing starts have largely remained at depressed levels after bottoming out in late 2008. Policy moves such as the federal homebuyer tax credit resulted in only a temporary blip in housing demand rather than engendering a permanent increase in latent housing demand. In addition, foreclosures continue to mount and barring any significant turnaround in the labor market, residential lamp demand will continue to struggle.

The backdrop for the nonresidential lighting equipment market is not much better. While the steepest declines are over, commercial and industrial construction activity continued a 9-quarter slide by contracting at an annualized rate of 20 percent during 2010Q3. Vacancy rates remain close to cyclical (and in some cases, record) highs and a substantial percentage of C&I loans are in default, forces that will certainly impede any upturn in nonresidential construction activity for several more quarters. Until construction begins to rebound, replacement demand will likely account for the vast majority of sales of nonresidential lighting equipment over the near term; in addition, retrofits will constitute a sizable share of demand as companies switch out non-compliant or higher-cost lighting systems. Consequently, the LSI will likely see modest gains through 2011.

NEMA is the association of electrical and medical imaging equipment manufacturers. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its approximately 450 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end use of electricity. These products are used in utility, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential applications. The association's Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) Division represents manufacturers of cutting-edge medical diagnostic imaging equipment including MRI, CT, x-ray, and ultrasound products. Worldwide sales of NEMA-scope products exceed $120 billion. In addition to its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia, NEMA also has offices in Beijing and Mexico City.

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