From the American Chemistry Council: Chemical Activity Barometer Falls Slightly In June
The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), eased 0.3 percent in June on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis following a 4.6 percent decline in May. On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer fell 12.0 percent in June.
The unadjusted data show a 3.5 percent gain in June following a 2.2 percent gain in May and a 6.3 percent decline in April. The diffusion index rose from 35 percent to 53 percent. The diffusion index marks the number of positive contributors relative to the total number of indicators monitored. The CAB reading for May was revised upward by 2.68 points and the April reading was revised upward by 0.05 points.
“While the latest CAB reading is consistent with a recession, two consecutive months of gains in the unadjusted data is a positive development,” said Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC. “We’ll want to see at least another month of gains in order to conclude that the economy has turned a corner.”
Applying the CAB back to 1912, it has been shown to provide a lead of two to 14 months, with an average lead of eight months at cycle peaks as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The median lead was also eight months. At business cycle troughs, the CAB leads by one to seven months, with an average lead of four months. The median lead was three months. The CAB is rebased to the average lead (in months) of an average 100 in the base year (the year 2012 was used) of a reference time series. The latter is the Federal Reserve’s Industrial Production Index.
This graph shows the year-over-year change in the 3-month moving average for the Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) compared to Industrial Production.
Although the CAB (red) generally leads Industrial Production (blue), they both collapsed together with the sudden stop of the economy in March. The unadjusted CAB data suggests that Industrial Production probably bottomed, but the CAB is not indicating a strong rebound.