The economic reports last week were mostly positive. After five years of deleveraging, consumers appear to be willing to take on debt to fuel spending. The latest Beige Book from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts reported that the economy continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace from mid-February through late March. Turning to chemistry, wholesale trade in chemicals expanded but so did inventories, and there may be some imbalances building at this stage of the supply chain. The trade balance in chemicals improved to a surplus as imports fell faster than exports. Railcar loadings have been on the rise seven of the last 13 weeks, posting a decline this past week.
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