Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chemical Activity Barometer "Leading Economic Indicator Rises for Fourth Consecutive Month"

by Bill McBride on 4/21/2015 04:09:00 PM

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

From the American Chemistry Council: Leading Economic Indicator Rises for Fourth Consecutive Month; Reaches Seven Year High

TThe Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), was up 0.1 percent in April, as measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA). Reaching an index of 98.1, last seen in January 2008, the CAB remains up 2.6 percent over a year ago, and suggests gains in business activity will continue into the fourth quarter. ...

“All of the major production-related indicators are up and we might continue to see a strengthening. Construction-related chemistries have been adversely affected by bad weather so far this year, but we expect an improvement as we get further into spring,” said Kevin Swift, chief economist at the American Chemistry Council. “The data on plastic resins and polymers for packaging suggest that retail sales should continue to be strong as well,” Swift added.
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.