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April 5, 2013

Global manufacturing pace picks up in March, ACC report says

Scott Jenkins

Global manufacturing continued to improve in March, and at a slightly faster pace, according to data analyzed in the latest Weekly Chemistry and Economic Report from the American Chemistry Council (ACC; Washington, D.C.;
The JPMorgan Global Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) rose 0.3 points to 51.2 in March, where a reading above 50 indicates expansion. The pace of expansion, however, while slightly faster than in recent months, is still below the long-term historical average, the ACC report said.
Looking at different countries and regions, the ACC report said, “Despite a slowing pace, the U.S. led the global manufacturing output growth league in March, and has now seen production rise throughout much of the past four years.” The rate of expansion accelerated in China, while growth was recorded in Japan for the first time in ten months. “Europe remained the drag on the global manufacturing sector, with output declining in both the Eurozone and the U.K.,” the report said.
Discussing the performance of chemical equities, the ACC said the S&P index for chemicals rose by 1.9% in March, compared to 3.6% rise in the wider S&P 500 index. Since the beginning of the year, the S&P chemicals index is up 5.6%, while the S&P 500 index is up 10.0%. 
The ACC also reported that U.S. specialty chemicals market volume rose 0.7% in February, accelerating from no change in January and a general softness since last summer.
For the wider U.S. economy, the ACC called the week's economic reports mixed, with highly anticipated employment numbers showing the weakest job growth in almost a year, and a significant reduction in the labor force, the ACC report said. Construction spending grew, however.


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