The chemical industry continues to contend with the after effects of Hurricane Sandy as retail sales and production declined the week of Nov. 12, according to the American Chemistry Council’s weekly report.
Retail sales fell for the first time in months. The decline was partly due to the impact of Sandy and continued economic uncertainty. Industrial production unexpectedly fell as disruption from Sandy amplified the effects of weakening demand. The manufacturing recovery continued to slip with output declines across most major categories.
Capacity utilization also fell. In addition, small-business optimism improved slightly but remains below the pre-recession levels. The regional manufacturing surveys point to weak growth. Business inventories continued to expand and remain balanced against sales.
Meanwhile, price reports showed that price pressures have eased due to lower energy costs and slack demand. Overseas, the Euro area industrial production continues to be weak, and the OECD CLIs continue to point to weak growth prospects in many major economies.
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