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U.S. Chemical Production Edged Down in September; Production Remains Ahead Year-Over-Year


Contact: Patrick Hurston (202) 249-6506  
Email: patrick_hurston@americanchemistry.com

WASHINGTON (November 1, 2013) – According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) edged down by 0.4 percent in September, following a revised 0.2 percent decline in August. During September, chemical production was lower in all seven regions.

On a three-month moving average (3MMA), output of the nation’s overall manufacturing sector edged higher by 0.1 percent in September, after increasing 0.2 percent in August. Within the manufacturing sector, output in several key chemistry end-use markets grew, including motor vehicles, construction materials, machinery, fabricated metal products, semiconductors, plastic and rubber products, structural panels, textiles, and furniture. Manufacturing continues to expand following weakness during the second quarter. Stronger growth abroad, in addition to accelerating demand for autos, aerospace, and construction are key drivers.

Also measured on a 3MMA basis, overall chemical production was again mixed. Gains in the output of organic chemicals, synthetic rubber, manmade fibers, adhesives, and fertilizers, were offset by lower production of inorganic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, acids, consumer products and plastic resins.

Compared to September 2012, total chemical production in all regions decelerated to a 1.4 percent year-over-year gain, following a 1.8 percent gain in August. Chemical production remained ahead in all regions compared to a year ago. Comparing the first three quarters of 2013 to that in 2012, chemical production was up 1.1 percent nationally, with five of the seven regions posting gains.

The chemistry industry is one of the largest industries in the United States, a $770 billion enterprise. The manufacturing sector is the largest consumer of chemical products, and 96 percent of manufactured goods are touched by chemistry.

The U.S. CPRI was developed 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. Thus, the reading in September reflects production activity during July, August, and September.

Following a 0.4 percent decline in August, chemical production in the Gulf Coast region continued to decline, falling by 0.2 percent in September. September production, however, was still up 0.2 percent from a year ago and up by 1.4 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 slipped by 0.5 percent in September, on the heels of 0.2 percent decline in August. Compared to September 2012, Midwest chemical production was up by 0.8 percent, and up 0.4 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 slipped by 0.6 percent in September, following a 0.3 percent decline in August. Compared to September 2012, production in the region was up by 2.5 percent, and was also up 3.7 percent on a year-to-date basis.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, where pharmaceutical manufacturing is prominent, chemical production was lower by 0.5 percent in September, following a 0.2 percent decline in August. Compared to September 2012, Mid-Atlantic chemical production was up by 0.6 percent, but remained off by 0.4 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 0.4 percent in September, following a 0.1 percent decline during August. Compared to September 2012, Southeast region chemical production was up by 1.8 percent year-over-year and was higher by 1.0 percent on a year-to-date basis.

In the Northeast region, which is influenced by pharmaceutical manufacturing and other specialty chemical manufacturing, chemical production slipped by 0.6 percent during September, following 0.3 percent decline in August. Compared to September 2012, Northeast region chemical production was up by 1.0 percent, and was 0.4 percent higher on a year-to-date basis.

In the West Coast region, chemical production edged lower by 0.5 percent in September, following a 0.1 percent decline in August. Chemical production in the West Coast region was up by 0.9 percent from last year, but remained down on a year-to-date basis by 0.6 percent.

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