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Chemical Activity Barometer Points to Improving Economy

Volume 2, Issue 3
February 15, 2014
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Volume-2-Issue-3-Article-2a-e1401130494792The American Chemistry Council’s said its first 2014 Chemical Activity Barometer reading strengthened slightly, indicating continued growth and an improving economy throughout the year.

In January the CAB ticked up to 94.0, increasing 0.2 points over December on a three-month moving average basis. This marks the ninth consecutive monthly gain for the CAB, which is now up 2.6% over a year ago, ACC noted.

The growth is at a more moderate pace since the 0.4% gain in September 2013, ACC Chief Economist Kevin Swift said. “Slow and steady isn’t a bad thing when you consider the alternative,” he added.

“This recovery seems to lag compared to previous post-recession recoveries, but overall the fundamentals remain strong, including the ongoing expansion in chemistries related to construction and consumer-related resins, as well as light vehicle sales,” Swift said.

Pointing to a particularly bright spot, Swift said there have been strong gains recently in electronic chemicals, food additives, foundry chemicals, lubricant and paint additives, mining
chemicals and printing ink.

Overall results in the four primary components of the CAB were mixed, ACC said, with production and inventories up, product/selling prices flat, and a drop in equity prices.

The CAB is a leading economic indicator derived from a composite index of chemical industry activity, the council observed.

“The chemical industry has been found to consistently lead the U.S. economy’s business cycle given its early position in the supply chain,” the council said, “This barometer can be used to determine turning points and likely trends in the wider economy.”

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