Chemical industry data shows that the national economy next year may slow down somewhat from its current accelerated growth.
The Chemical Activity Barometer, a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council, posted a 0.2% gain in October on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis.
The barometer is up 3.8% (3MMA) year-over-year, ACC reports. The pace of growth has slowed from earlier in the year – the unadjusted measure of the CAB declined 0.2% in October.
The CAB has four primary components, each consisting of a variety of indicators: production; equity prices; product prices; and inventories and other indicators.
Major components of the barometer were inconsistent in October, ACC says. Plastic resins used in packaging gained, while other consumer and institutional applications were mixed, reflecting a recent weakening in retail sales.
The council also notes that equity prices retreated sharply in October and product and input processes were mixed while inventories remained positive.
ACC also reported that in September the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index edged lower by 0.2%, following flat growth in August, and a 0.4% gain in July. Chemical output fell across all regions except the Gulf Coast, which was flat.
There were gains in the 3MMA production output trend of plastic resins; pesticides; fertilizers; coatings; adhesives; synthetic dyes and pigments; industrial gases; and other inorganic chemicals.
These gains were offset by declines in the output trend in organic chemicals; synthetic rubber; consumer products; and other specialty chemicals.
In a separate report, ACC says U.S. specialty chemicals market volumes ended the third quarter on a good note, rising 0.2% in September. This follows rises of 0.5% in August and 0.3% in July.