US chemical activity gauge shows slowly growing economy - ACC

26 February 2013 16:07  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A US chemical activity gauge’s three-month moving average rose by 0.6 percentage points from January, increasing for the seventh straight month, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said on Tuesday.

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a monthly index developed by ACC economists, rose to 92.1 in February on a three-month moving average, although the month-to-month figures were flat, with both January and February coming in at 92.4.

The CAB showed a slowly expanding US economy, the ACC said.

“The increase in chemical industry activity continues to be a good sign for the overall health of the economy,” said Dr. Kevin Swift, chief economist at the ACC.

“But uncertainty is still present, and the impending sequester is likely to stifle growth slightly for the remainder of the year,” he added.

Bright spots for the chemical sector continue to be construction-related coatings, pigments and plastic resins, Swift said, adding that growth in plastic resins used in consumer and institutional applications hint at stronger consumer confidence.

Chemical products contribute to 96% of all manufactured goods, according to the ACC. The CAB’s early chain in supply provides a lead to business cycle peaks and troughs and can help identify trends in related sectors such as housing, automobiles and retail.

By: Jeremy Pafford
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