27 March 2009 20:59 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US durable goods orders rose in February for the first time in seven months, providing a “glimmer of hope” that the recession could be bottoming out, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said in its weekly economic report issued on Friday.
In the report, the ACC said durable goods orders rose by 3.4% to $165.6bn (€122.5bn) in February. Likewise, the report noted a rise in February in the consumer spending index, rebounding for the second month in a row after falling for six straight months.
“This is important in that some $183bn in chemistry is directly associated with consumer spending,” the ACC said in the report. “Though the new orders data is notoriously volatile, as a leading indicator, it provides a glimmer of hope that we are seeing the bottom of this recession.”
Figures within the chemical industry followed the positive trend, at least on a short-term basis. Weekly railcar loadings of polymers and basic chemicals rose by 1,004 to 25,547 railcars, marking the seventh time in the last 13 weeks that loadings have increased.
However, compared with the same week last year, loadings are off 15% year over year.
Moreover, figures in construction, a crucial end-use market for many chemicals, also rose in February. Existing home sales and new home sales increased by 5.1% and 4.7%, respectively, for the month.
“Both reports are important,” the ACC said. “Existing home sales generate sales of chemistry through purchases of paints and coatings, new furniture, carpet, resilient flooring, window treatments, appliances and fixtures.”
($1 = €0.74)
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