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U.S. Chemical Production Slows; Year-Over-Year Production Remains Positive


Contact: Patrick Hurston (202) 249-6506
Email: patrick_hurston@americanchemistry.com

WASHINGTON (April 26, 2013) – According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) slipped by 0.1 percent in March, following a revised 0.4 percent gain in February. Chemical production rose in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and West regions, but slipped in the Gulf Coast, Ohio Valley, and Southeast.

On a three-month moving average (3MMA), output of the nation’s overall manufacturing sector posted a 0.2 percent gain in March, following a 0.5 percent gain in February. Within the manufacturing sector, output in several key chemistry end-use markets increased, including appliances, machinery, structural panels, construction materials, furniture, motor vehicles and plastic products. Domestic manufacturing demand for U.S. manufactured goods is a key driver for U.S. chemistry.

Also measured on a 3MMA basis, overall chemical production was again mixed. Gains in the output of adhesives, chlor-alkali, coatings, pharmaceuticals, industrial gases, synthetic dyes and pigments were offset by lower production of organic chemicals, consumer products, pesticides, manmade fibers, plastic resins, fertilizers, and synthetic rubber.

Compared to March 2012, total chemical production in all regions was up by 0.9 percent, following a 0.8 percent year-over-year gain in February. The year-over-year comparisons remained positive across all regions except the West Coast region. Comparing the first three months of 2013 to those in 2012, chemical production was up 0.8 percent nationally, with five of the seven regions posting gains.

The chemistry industry is one of the largest industries in the United States, a $760 billion enterprise. The manufacturing sector is the largest consumer of chemical products, and 96 percent of manufactured goods are touched by chemistry.

The U.S. CPRI was developed by Moore Economics to track chemical production activity in seven regions of the United States. It is comparable to the U.S. industrial production index for chemicals published by the Federal Reserve. The U.S. CPRI is based on information from the Federal Reserve. To smooth month-to-month fluctuations, the U.S. CPRI is measured using a three-month moving average. Thus, the reading in March reflects production activity during January, February, and March. 

Following a revised 1.1 percent increase in February, chemical production in the Gulf Coast region fell by 0.4 percent in March. In March, production was up 5.2 percent compared to a year before, and was also up by 5.2 percent on a year-to-date basis. The Gulf Coast region is dominated by the production of key building block materials, such as petrochemicals, inorganics, and synthetic materials.

In the Midwest region, which is influenced by production of agricultural chemicals, plastics, paints, and other chemical products, chemical production rose by 0.1 percent during March, following an upwardly revised 0.9 percent gain in February. Compared to March 2012, Midwest chemical production was up by 1.3 percent, and was up 0.9 percent on a year-to-date basis.

In the Ohio Valley region, which is largely influenced by production of basic chemicals, plastics and synthetic rubber, coatings, and consumer products, chemical production fell by 0.2 percent in March, following an upwardly revised 0.5 percent gain in February. Compared to March 2012, production in the region was up by 5.1 percent, and was up 5.5 percent on a year-to-date basis.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, where pharmaceutical manufacturing is prominent, chemical production increased by 0.2 percent in March, following an upwardly revised 0.9 percent gain during February. Compared to March 2012, Mid-Atlantic chemical production was up 0.2 percent, but was off 0.4 percent on a year-to-date basis.

In the Southeast region, which is influenced heavily by production of basic chemicals, fibers, agricultural and other chemical products, chemical production edged down by 0.1 percent in March, following a 0.6 percent increase during February. Compared to March 2012, Southeast region chemical production was up by 1.2 percent year-over-year and was ahead 1.0 percent on a year-to-date basis.

In the Northeast region, which is influenced by pharmaceutical manufacturing and other specialty chemical manufacturing, chemical production rose by 0.2 percent during March, following an upwardly revised 0.8 percent gain in February. Compared to March 2012, Northeast region chemical production was ahead by 0.7 percent, and was up by 0.4 percent on a year-to-date basis.

In the West Coast region, chemical production rose by 0.3 percent in March, following an upwardly revised 1.0 percent increase in February. Chemical production in the West Coast region was off 0.6 percent from last year and remained down 1.3 percent on a year-to-date basis.

 

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