Friday, July 25, 2014

Chemical Activity Barometer "retains strong year-over-year growth; shows short-term tightening"

by Bill McBride on 7/25/2014 09:38:00 AM

Here is a new indicator that I'm following that appears to be a leading indicator for industrial production.

From the American Chemistry Council: U.S. Economic Expansion Being Tempered By Uncertainty in Energy Markets, Shows Leading Economic Indicator

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) posted a 0.4 percent increase over June, as measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA). The pace of growth was consistent with earlier growth logged in the second quarter. Year over year growth now stands at a 4.4 percent increase. ...

During July production-related indicators were up, as were product/selling prices, and inventories. After rebounding sharply in May, chemical equity prices have weakened in response to the growing unrest in the Middle East and Ukraine.

Unlike earlier readings, trends in construction-related chemistries suggest a lackluster market for this sector, which includes plastic resins as well as adhesives and sealants, construction chemicals, paint additives, and other performance chemistries. Pigments are faring better, as are plastic resins used in consumer product applications. Continued strength in electronic chemicals is encouraging, as the semiconductor industry’s early place in the supply chain makes it a bellwether of the industrial cycle. Gains in oilfield chemicals suggest that the boom in unconventional oil and gas will continue to progress, contributing to the overall growth of the U.S. economy.
emphasis added
Chemical Activity Barometer Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the year-over-year change in the 3-month moving average for the Chemical Activity Barometer compared to Industrial Production.  It does appear that CAB (red) generally leads Industrial Production (blue).

And this suggests continued growth.

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