The chemical industry appears to have fully recovered from the immediate impact of this summer’s hurricanes on production.
The American Chemistry Council’s Chemical Activity Barometer – considered a leading economic indicator – in October rose 0.4% over September on a three-month moving average (3MMA). It also increased by 0.3%, on an unadjusted basis, reflecting a bounce back from the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Compared to a year earlier, the CAB is up 3.3% on a 3MMA basis, which the council suggests further gains for U.S. commercial and industrial activity into Second Quarter of 2018, ACC forecast.
The CAB consists of four primary components incorporating several indicators: production, equity prices, product prices and inventories.
The hurricanes’ impact showed up in the ACC’s September Chemical Production Regional Index, which fell sharply by 1.4% in September, following a 0.2% decline in August and a 1.0% gain in July.
Although production was up 1.2% year-over-year compared to September 2016, that represents a declining trend. Production was up in all regions except the Gulf Coast on a year-to-year basis.
In another report, the ACC Specialty Chemicals Market Volume Index fell 0.3% in September, but was up 4.1% on a year-over-year on a 3MMA basis.
Volumes enjoyed gains among 17 market and functional segments and declines in 11. The largest gains came in cosmetic chemicals, electronic chemicals, and flavors and fragrances. However, large declines were observed in the catalysts, lubricants, and plastic compounding markets.