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July 26, 2013

ACC's CAB signals improving U.S. business conditions

Scott Jenkins

The American Chemistry Council’s (ACC; Washington, D.C.; leading macroeconomic indicator Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) reading for July showed a 0.2% gain, measured on a three-month-moving average basis, suggesting that “future U.S. business cycle conditions strengthened from June,” the ACC said in its latest Weekly Chemistry and Economic Report.
The CAB readings for May were revised upward, while those for June were revised downward. The July CAB reading “Signals a moderately improving U.S. economy into early 2014,” the ACC report says.
Looking at the recent economic data, the ACC said in its latest report that although the week’s housing report was negative, it likely represents a pause in the housing recovery, rather than a change in trajectory. Elsewhere, “U.S. exports are still on a plateau as economic activity in China is clearly slowing, and industrial activity in Europe is still shrinking and external demand will likely be a drag for months to come,” the ACC report says.
The report also noted that chemical company equity prices were strong as the S&P 500 index reached an all-time record this month and chemical equities are near all-time highs.
Abroad, the latest numbers for the Global Production Regional Index (global CPRI) showed a 0.4% increase in June, after a 0.5% gain in May. Both increases are higher than the average in the first quarter, and gains were seen in five of the six major markets. Compared to last year at the same time, the global CPRI for June stood at 2.7% higher the year prior at this time.

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