Chemical Activity Barometer Up 0.3 Percent over February
Strengthening chemical equity prices drove gains in the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) monthly Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) released March 25. The March index was up 0.3 percent over February on a three-month moving average basis, rebounding past the average 0.2 percent gain in late 2013.
Strengthening chemical equity prices in February and March are a positive signal and a major factor in this month’s CAB reading, ACC reported. The economic indicator, shown to lead U.S. business cycles by an average of eight months at cycle peaks, is up 2.5 percent over a year ago. The CAB reading for February was revised upwards slightly from earlier reports.
“Winter weather extremes have carried into March and continue to impact many of the economic readings, but all signs point to an expanding U.S. economy through 2014,” said Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC. “Strengthening chemical equity prices, combined with the expansion of sales in intermediate goods, which constitute roughly 85 percent of overall chemical sales, are encouraging signs for the continued health of the U.S. economy.”
Overall results in the four primary components of the CAB were mostly positive, with production, equity prices and new orders up, while product/selling prices were flat. Production-related indicators such construction-related coatings, pigments, and plastic resins all improved.
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