The American Chemistry Council’s Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) expanded 0.5% in January on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis and 0.7% on an unadjusted basis. This follows an upwardly revised 3MMA gain of 0.7% in December and 0.5% in November. The CAB is up 4.0% compared to a year earlier, indicating a robust economy well into the third-quarter of 2018.
In January, following some weather-related stagnation, production-related indicators showed solid improvement. Plastic resins used in packaging and in other consumer and institutional applications also improved, suggesting continued consumer confidence. A robust stock market rally continued to push equity prices higher, while product prices and inventories were also positive.