US monthly chemical production edges higher

The US chemical production regional index (CPRI) was 0.6% higher in April after a 0.2% gain in March, new data from the American Chemistry Council (ACC) trade group showed on Monday.

All seven regions in the US grew in April. The US regions are defined by the ACC as the Gulf Coast, Midwest, Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Northeast and West Coast.

The Gulf Coast, dominated by the output of shale-gas-advantaged products such as petrochemicals, inorganics and synthetic materials, posted a 0.6% increase in April. That reversed course from a 0.5% decline in March.

Manufacturing production unexpectedly slipped during April, however. On a three-month moving average (3MMA), output of the nation’s overall manufacturing sector was 0.6% higher in April, following an upwardly-revised 0.4% increase in March. 

Within the manufacturing sector, output in many key chemistry end-use markets expanded, including appliances, motor vehicles, aerospace, construction supplies, machinery, fabricated metal products, computers, semiconductors, plastic products, rubber products, plywood, printing, textile products, and furniture.

Also measured on a 3MMA basis, overall chemical production was again mixed. There were gains in the output of chlor-alkali and other inorganic chemicals, synthetic dyes and pigments, industrial gases, consumer products, adhesives, organic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and coatings. 

These gains were partially offset by declines in the production of plastic resins, pesticides, fertilizers, and manmade fibers. Synthetic rubber production was flat for a second straight month. 

Compared to April 2013, total chemical production in all regions was ahead by 2.0% on a year-over-year basis, following a revised 1.4% gain in March. Chemical production was up from a year ago in all regions. 

Comparing the first four months of 2014 to that in 2013, chemical production was up 1.1% nationally, with six of the seven regions posting gains.

Full data can be found in the news release on the ACC's website.

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