The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) expanded 0.1 percent in March following a revised 0.2 percent decline in February and 0.1 percent downward revision in January.

Accounting for adjustments, the CAB remains up 1.5 percent over this time last year, a marked deceleration of activity from one year ago when the barometer logged a 2.7 percent year-over-year gain from 2014. Data is measured on a three-month moving average. 

In March, production-related indicators were better, with improvement in plastic resins used in packaging and strengthening construction-related resins, pigments and related performance chemistry.

Turning around

Equity prices significantly gained in March, joined by a firming in product prices. Inventories were negative, but new orders appear to be steadying and turning around.

On an unadjusted basis the CAB jumped 0.9 percent, thus ending three consecutive monthly declines.

Created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the Chemical Activity Barometer has four primary components, each consisting of a variety of indicators:

  1. Production
  2. Equity prices
  3. Product prices
  4. Inventories and other indicators