US sees improvement in monthly chemicals output

The US Chemical Production Regional Index (CPRI) edged higher by 0.1% in May, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) trade group said Friday, making back some gains from a downwardly-revised 0.2% decline in April.

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

On a three-month moving average (3MMA), output of the nation’s overall manufacturing sector fell by 0.1% in May, following flat growth in April.

Within the manufacturing sector, output in several key chemistry end-use markets grew, including appliances, motor vehicles, computers and electronics, semiconductors, plastic products, rubber products, printing, and furniture.

As export demand has weakened due to the recession in Europe and slower growth in key emerging markets, demand for manufactured goods has slipped and manufacturing activity has slowed, the ACC said. Manufacturing demand is a significant driver of demand for chemistry products.

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

Compared to May 2012, total chemical production in all regions accelerated to a 0.9% year-over-year gain, following a 0.5% jump in April. The year-over-year comparisons improved in all regions.

Comparing the first five months of 2013 to those in 2012, chemical production was up 0.7% nationally, with five of the seven regions posting gains.

For more specific figures, visit the ACC's website.

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