Tuesday, December 24, 2019

"Chemical Activity Barometer Is Stable In December"

by Calculated Risk on 12/24/2019 10:50:00 AM

Note: This appears to be a leading indicator for industrial production.

From the American Chemistry Council: CChemical Activity Barometer Is Stable In December

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), was stable (0.0 percent change) in December on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis following a 0.1 percent gain in November. On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer rose 0.4 percent (3MMA) and follows two months of negative year-earlier comparisons.
...
The CAB signals slow gains in U.S. commerce into the third quarter of 2020,” said Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC.
...
Applying the CAB back to 1912, it has been shown to provide a lead of two to fourteen 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).

The year-over-year change in the CAB suggests that the YoY change in industrial production might be near a short term bottom, but suggests "slow gains into the third quarter of 2020".