May 2021 Chemical Activity Barometer Index Continues To Improve

from the American Chemistry Council

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), rose 1.2% in May on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis following a 1.0% increase in April. On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer rose 18.6% in May (3MMA).

The unadjusted data show a 1.0% increase in May following a 0.9% gain in April. The diffusion index reached 100% in May. The diffusion index marks the number of positive contributors relative to the total number of indicators monitored. The CAB reading for April was revised upward by 0.91 points and the reading for March was revised upward by 0.16 points. The May data are provisional and subject to revision.

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 May, production-related indicators were positive. Despite some recent weakness in housing - a reflection of higher interest rates and prices as well as labor and supply-side constraints - trends in construction-related resins and related performance chemistry were solid. Aided by strength in automotive markets, resins and chemistry used in other durable goods were strong. Gains in plastic resins used in packaging and for consumer and institutional applications were positive. Performance chemistry for industry was largely positive. Exports were positive, while equity prices gained, reaching new records. Product and input prices were positive, as were inventory and other supply chain indicators.

Per Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC:

The latest CAB reading is consistent with marked expansion of commerce, trade and industry

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Caveats on the Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB):

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.

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