The American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) was stable in December on a three-month moving average following a 0.1% gain in November. On a year-over-year basis, the barometer rose 0.4% and follows two months of negative year-ago comparisons.
The unadjusted December data was flat (0% change) following a revised 0.5 % gain in November. The diffusion index (positive contributors relative to CAB indicators: production; equity prices, product prices and inventories) fell to 47% in December. The CAB reading for November was revised upward by 0.19 points and that for October up by 0.26 points.
“The CAB signals slow gains in U.S. commerce into the third quarter of 2020,” said Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC.
Production-related indicators eased in December. Although trends in construction-related resins, pigments and related performance chemistry were mixed, they suggest further slow gains in housing, which has been on an upward trend.
Plastic resins used in packaging and for consumer and institutional applications were mixed. Performance chemistry eased, reflecting weakness among industrial end-use markets. U.S. exports were weak. Equity prices rose sharply again this month, while product and input prices were mixed. Inventory and other indicators were mixed.
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