21 May 2013 18:58 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US economic recovery continues, but the nation’s rate of expansion in May was slower than in the first quarter of this year, according to a key chemicals sector leading indicator issued on Tuesday.
Although razor-thin, that advance was enough to mark the tenth consecutive monthly gain for the barometer, the council noted.
That narrow 0.1% gain for May followed an equally slim 0.1% advance in April, the CAB report indicated. In the four months preceding April, the barometer had shown monthly gains of 0.2% to 0.6%.
While slower than in earlier months of this year, the May CAB reading shows a 3.1% improvement over the same month in 2012.
The CAB combines data from a range of chemicals and sectors, including production of chlorine and other alkalis, pigments, plastic resins and other basic industrial chemicals.
The barometer also factors in chemical company stock data, hours worked in chemicals manufacturing and publicly available chemicals pricing and inventories. Broader data sets, such as housing starts and new orders for general manufactured goods, also are included, according to the ACC.
ACC chief economist Kevin Swift said that while there was continued growth in consumer applications of chemical and plastics products, that expansion was in part offset by softening of demand for construction-related plastic resins.
Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
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