US chemical production continues to rise by end of 2017

WASHINGTON — According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the US Chemical Production Regional Index (US CPRI) rose 1.2% in November, following a 0.5% gain in October, and a 1.2% decline in September. The upturn reflects the rebounding overall manufacturing activity in addition to continued recovery from the hurricanes. During November, chemical output increased in all regions.

Courtesy of ACC.
Courtesy of ACC.

Chemical production was mixed over the same 3-mon period. There were gains in the production three-month moving average output trend of pesticides, fertilizers, coatings, adhesives, organic chemicals, other specialty chemicals, synthetic rubber, consumer products and pharmaceuticals. These gains were offset by declines in the output trend in industrial gases, manufactured fibers, dyes and pigments, plastic resins, and chlor-alkali.

Nearly all manufactured goods are produced using chemistry in some form or another. Thus, manufacturing activity is an important indicator for chemical production. On a three-month-moving average basis, manufacturing activity rose by 0.6% in November, following a 0.5% in October. Production expanded in several chemistry-intensive manufacturing industries, including food and beverages; motor vehicles; aerospace; construction supplies; petroleum refining; machinery; fabricated metal products; computers and electronics; semiconductors; iron and steel products; structural panels; foundries; and paper.

Compared to November 2016, US chemical production was ahead 2.4% on a year-over-year basis, an improving trend. Chemical production was ahead of year ago levels in all regions.

The chemistry industry is one of the largest industries in the United States, a $768 B enterprise. The manufacturing sector is the largest consumer of chemical products, and 96% of manufactured goods are touched by chemistry. The US CPRI was developed to track chemical production activity in seven regions of the United States. The US CPRI is based on information from the Federal Reserve, and as such, includes monthly revisions as published by the Federal Reserve. To smooth month-to-month fluctuations, the US CPRI is measured using a 3-mon moving average. Thus, the reading in November reflects production activity during September, October and November.

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