Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Chemical Activity Barometer "Chemical Activity Barometer Ends Year with Modest Uptick"

by Bill McBride on 12/22/2015 03:12:00 PM

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

From the American Chemistry Council: Chemical Activity Barometer Ends Year with Modest Uptick

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), strengthened slightly in December, rising 0.2 percent following a similar gain in November. All data is measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA). Accounting for adjustments, the CAB remains up 1.5 percent over this time last year, a marked deceleration of activity since the second quarter....
...
Applying the CAB back to 1919, it has been shown to provide a lead of two to 14 months, with an average lead of eight months at cycle peaks as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The median lead was also eight months. At business cycle troughs, the CAB leads by one to seven months, with an average lead of four months. The median lead was three months. The CAB is rebased to the average lead (in months) of an average 100 in the base year (the year 2012 was used) of a reference time series. The latter is the Federal Reserve’s Industrial Production Index.
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).

This suggests that industrial production might have stabilized.