The economy is facing an economic chill, according to a monthly economic indicator issued by the American Chemistry Council.
The ACC’s Chemical Activity Barometer, a leading economic indicator, posted a 0.3% decline in November on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis.
“This marks the barometer’s first month-over-month drop since February 2016 and adds to the chorus of growing concern of slowing U.S economic expansion,” the council points out.
On a year-over-year basis the barometer is up 2.8% (3MMA), a marked slowdown in the pace of growth from earlier this year. The unadjusted measure of the CAB declined 0.8% in November and 0.6% in October, ACC reported.
The CAB has four primary components, each consisting of indicators like production, equity prices, product prices and inventories. It is an accurate predictor one to eight months out.
Major components of the barometer were mixed in November. Despite poor economic reports on housing, trends in construction-related resins, pigments and related performance chemistry were fairly positive and hint at slow gains in housing activity.
Plastic resins used in packaging and in consumer and institutional applications were reported mixed while equity prices retreated sharply again in November. On the upside, inventory and product prices were considered positive.
The diffusion index was stable at 59%, following an upward revision in October. This index marks the number of positive contributors relative to the total number of indicators monitored.
The council concludes, “In short, the CAB continues to signal gains in U.S. commercial and industrial activity through mid-2019 but at a much slower pace as growth (as measured by year-earlier comparisons) has turned over.”