US chemical output falls for second straight month

A regional index for US chemical production (CPRI) slipped by 0.1% in June, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) trade group said on Wednesday, following a downwardly-revised 0.5% decline in May.

Chemical production fell in the Gulf Coast, Midwest, Southeast and West Coast regions and was flat in the Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast regions.

Though overall US chemical production activity declined in June, individual components measured by the index were mixed.

Declines in production of plastic resins, fertilizers, adhesives, organic chemicals and pharmaceuticals were offset by gains in the output of inorganic chemicals, industrial gases, consumer products, pesticides, coatings and synthetic rubber.

In contrast to chemical production, output of the nation’s overall manufacturing sector rose by 0.2%, the ACC said, following a 0.1% decline in May.

This increase was driven in part by output gains in several key chemistry end-use markets, including appliances, motor vehicles, computers, apparel, structural panels, rubber products, paper and printing.

The manufacturing sector, which rebounded strongly following the recession, has moderated in recent months as slower global growth has depressed demand for US exports.

Compared to June 2011, total chemical production in all regions was up by 0.3% and was down year-over-year in all regions except the Gulf Coast and Ohio Valley.

On a year-to-date basis (comparing the first six months of 2012 with those a year ago), chemical production was up 0.2% nationally, the ACC said.

Only the Ohio Valley and Northeast regions were ahead on a year-to-date basis.

For full index data, including specific regional breakdowns, read the ACC’s news release by clicking here.

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