CHEMICAL ACTIVITY BAROMETER SHOWS GAIN IN APRIL, ACC SAYS

CHEMICAL Engineering | April 23, 2019

The unadjusted measure of the CAB rose 0.8 percent in April and 0.7 percent in March, ACC said. The diffusion index was steady at 65 percent in April, an improvement over the winter months. The diffusion index marks the number of positive contributors relative to the total number of indicators monitored. The CAB reading for March was revised upward by 0.64 points and that for February by 0.10 points.“The latest CAB signals gains in U.S. commercial and industrial activity through mid-2019, but at a slow pace,” said Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC. “As a result, the recovery and expansion underway is likely to surpass the record of 120 months set during the 1990s. The CAB reading suggests that there are glimmers of hope for improving activity in the closing months of the year.”The CAB has four main components, each consisting of a variety of indicators: 1) production; 2) equity prices; 3) product prices; and 4) inventories and other indicators.Production-related indicators in April were mixed. Trends in construction-related resins, pigments and related performance chemistry were mixed and suggest further, albeit slow, gains in housing activity. Plastic resins used in packaging and in consumer and institutional applications were slightly positive. Performance chemistry and U.S. exports were mixed. Equity prices rebounded sharply in April, while product and input prices rose. Inventory and other indicators were positive.

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