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Data shows chemical production declined in May; year-over-year remains flat.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 2, 2012) – According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) slipped by 0.3 percent in May, following a downwardly revised 0.5 percent decline in April. Chemical production fell across all regions and is now flat in year-over year comparisons.
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.
Comparable to the U.S. CPRI, a three month moving average measuring the output of the nation’s overall manufacturing sector also saw a decline. Following a 0.3 percent gain in April, manufacturing experienced a 0.1 percent decline in May. Within the manufacturing sector, output in several key chemistry end-use markets increased, including motor vehicles, machinery, computers, apparel, and structural panels. As European countries struggle with recession and Chinese manufacturing slows, demand for U.S. manufacturing has softened in recent months.
Production, also measured on a three month moving average basis, was mixed. Output slipped in several key segments including pharmaceuticals, organic chemicals, inorganic chemicals, industrial gases, plastic resins, pesticides, adhesives, and other specialties. Many segments, however, saw rising production. Some of the largest gains were in consumer products, synthetic rubber, coatings, and fertilizers.
Compared to May 2011, total chemical production in all regions was unchanged and was down year-over-year in all regions except the Gulf Coast, and Ohio Valley regions. On a year-to-date basis (comparing the first five months of 2012 with those a year ago), chemical production was up 0.3 percent nationally. Only the Ohio Valley, Northeast, and Southeast regions were ahead on a year-to-date basis.
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 (3MMA). Thus, the reading in May reflects production activity during March, April, and May.
Following a revised 0.8 percent decline in April, chemical production in the Gulf Coast region was off by 0.4 percent in May. Compared to a year ago, production was up 0.3 percent, but was down 1.2 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 fell by 0.4 percent during May, following a 0.5 percent decline in April. Compared to May 2011, Midwest chemical production was down 0.4 percent, and was off 0.1 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 0.3 percent in May, following a 0.5 percent decline in April. Compared to May 2011, production in the region was up by 1.3 percent, and was up 1.5 percent on a year-to-date basis.
In the Mid-Atlantic region, where pharmaceutical manufacturing is prominent, chemical production slipped by 0.3 percent in May, following a 0.4 percent decline in April. Compared to May 2011, Mid-Atlantic chemical production was off 1.0 percent, and was off 0.1 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 fell by 0.5 percent in May, following a 0.6 percent decline during April. Compared to May 2011, Southeast region chemical production was down 0.2 percent year-over-year, but remained ahead by 0.4 percent on a year-to-date basis.
In the Northeast region, which is influenced by pharmaceutical manufacturing and other specialty chemical manufacturing, chemical production was off by 0.3 percent in May, following a 0.3 percent decline during April. Compared to May 2011, Northeast region chemical production was off 0.2 percent, but was up 1.0 percent on a year-to-date basis.
In the West Coast region, chemical production slipped by 0.4 percent in May, following a 0.4 percent decline in April. Chemical production in the West Coast region was off 1.0 percent from last year, but remained down 0.1 percent on a year-to-date basis.