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U.S. Chemical Production Edges Up in May; Year-Over-Year Production Strengthens


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

WASHINGTON (June 27, 2013) – According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) edged higher by 0.1 percent in May, following a downwardly revised 0.2 percent 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 was slipped by 0.1% 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. 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 percent year-over-year gain, following a 0.5 percent 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 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 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. Thus, the reading in May reflects production activity during March, April, and May.

Following a revised 0.3 percent decline in April, chemical production in the Gulf Coast region was flat in May. In May, production was up 2.3 percent compared to a year before, and was up by 2.3 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 was flat in May, following an revised 0.2 percent decline in April. Compared to May 2012, Midwest chemical production was up by 0.2 percent, and also up by 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 rose by 0.4 percent in May, following a 0.2 percent gain in April. Compared to May 2012, production in the region was up by 4.7 percent, and was also up 4.3 percent on a year-to-date basis.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, where pharmaceutical manufacturing is prominent, chemical production edged higher by 0.1 percent in May, following a revised 0.2 percent decline during April. Compared to May 2012, Mid-Atlantic chemical production was down by 0.9 percent, and was off 1.o 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 edged up by 0.1 percent in May, following a revised 0.2 percent decline during April. Compared to May 2012, Southeast region chemical production was up by 0.7 percent year-over-year and was higher by 0.5 percent on a year-to-date basis.

In the Northeast region, which is influenced by pharmaceutical manufacturing and other specialty chemical manufacturing, chemical production rose by 0.1 percent during May, following an upwardly 0.1 percent decline in April. Compared to May 2012, Northeast region chemical production was down by 0.1 percent, and was off by 0.1 percent on a year-to-date basis.

In the West Coast region, chemical production was flat in May, following a revised 0.2 percent decline in April. Chemical production in the West Coast region was off 1.4 percent from last year and remained down 1.5 percent on a year-to-date basis.

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