Chemical Index Shows Strengthening US Economy

Sept. 24, 2013

There is good news ahead for the U.S. economy according to the Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator produced by the American Chemistry Council. The barometer recorded a healthy increase of 0.6% in August and stands at 93.6 for September, up 3.3% from a year ago. The index is at its highest level since June 2008.

The CAB increased 0.4% on a three-month moving average for August, which ACC Chief Economist Dr. Kevin Swift called “a real improvement in growth dynamics from the smaller, yet steady, increases we saw from March through August.”

ACC said the barometer points to U.S. economic expansion into 2015. “Indeed, there is potential for upside surprises in the U.S. economy,” Swift noted.

Swift said continued improvements in construction-related plastic resins, coatings, pigments and other chemistry are likely to continue growing, though at a more modest pace. “Production of plastic resins used in consumer and institutional applications continues to grow at a strong pace, with the potential for even greater acceleration,” ACC reported.

Chemical equities outpaced the benchmark S&P 500, ACC noted, rising about 30% faster.

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