US Economy: Chemical Activity Barometer

US Economy: Chemical Activity Barometer

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), expanded 0.4 percent in September following a 0.4 percent gain in August and a 0.7 percent gain in July and June. Accounting for adjustments, the CAB is up 3.7 percent over this time last year, an improvement over prior months. All data is measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA). On an unadjusted basis the CAB climbed 0.2 percent in September, following a 0.4 percent gain in August.

The Chemical Activity Barometer has four primary components, each consisting of a variety of indicators: 1) production; 2) equity prices; 3) product prices; and 4) inventories and other indicators.

In September, two of the four core categories for the CAB improved. Production-related indicators were positive, with building permits and housing starts, trends in construction-related resins, pigments and related performance chemistry strengthening and suggesting recovering housing activity. Equity prices declined in both absolute and relative terms. Product prices slipped in Septmber, with inventory and other downstream indicators slightly more positive.

The Chemical Activity Barometer is a leading economic indicator derived from a composite index of chemical industry activity. The chemical industry has been found to consistently lead the U.S. economy’s business cycle given its early position in the supply chain, and this barometer can be used to determine turning points and likely trends in the wider economy. Month-to-month movements can be volatile so a three-month moving average of the barometer is provided. This provides a more consistent and illustrative picture of national economic trends.

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.

Chemical Activity Barometer for the Latest Six Months and Year-Ago Month*

Sep-15

Apr-16

May-16

Jun-16

Jul-16

Aug-16

Sep-16

CAB (3 MMA)

110.27

111.00

111.84

112.66

113.44

113.93

114.33

% M/M

-0.2

0.3

0.8

0.7

0.7

0.4

0.4

% Y/Y

1.6

1.6

1.9

2.1

2.6

3.1

3.7

CAB

110.10

111.64

112.92

113.41

113.98

114.39

114.61

% M/M

0.0

0.6

1.1

0.4

0.5

0.4

0.2

% Y/Y

1.2

1.6

2.3

2.4

3.0

3.9

4.1

*Percentage changes may not reflect index values due to rounding.

The CAB comprises indicators relating to the production of chlorine and other alkalies, pigments, plastic resins and other selected basic industrial chemicals; chemical company stock data; hours worked in chemicals; publicly sourced, chemical price information; end-use (or customer) industry sales-to-inventories; and several broader leading economic measures (building permits and new orders). Each month, ACC provides a barometer number, which reflects activity data for the current month, as well as a three-month moving average. The CAB was developed by the economics department at the American Chemistry Council.

The next CAB is currently planned for:
25 October 2016
9:00 a.m. Eastern Time

The CAB is designed and prepared in compliance with ACC’s Antitrust Guidelines and FTC Safe Harbor Guidelines; does not use company-specific price information as input data; and data is aggregated such that company-specific and product-specific data cannot be determined.

Note: Every effort has been made in the preparation of this publication to provide the best available information. However, neither the American Chemistry Council, nor any of its employees, agents or other assigns makes any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any liability or responsibility for any use, or the results of such use, of any information or data disclosed in this material.

www.americanchemistry.com

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Shayne Heffernan Funds Manager at HEFFX holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.

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