The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), an economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), rose 0.1% in July on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis, improving upon June and May performances, which were essentially flat. The barometer is up 3.9% year-over-year (Y/Y/), a slower pace than of that earlier in the year. The unadjusted CAB also reportedly increased, notching a 0.2% gain, up from a 0.1% gain in June. July readings indicate a continued expansion of U.S. commercial and industrial activity well into the first quarter 2019.
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. All four broad categories reportedly remained strong. Production-related indicators in July were mixed as trends in construction-related pigments and related performance chemistry were slightly positive and suggested further gains in housing activity. Reflecting a strong retail and food services sector, plastic resins used in packaging and in many other consumer and institutional applications were mixed and suggest further but modest gains in retail sales. U.S. exports also continued to rise as did equity prices, product and input prices, and inventories.
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