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U.S. Chemical Production Expanded in December; 2013 Ends on a High Note


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

WASHINGTON (January 24, 2014) – According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) rose by 0.8 percent in December, following a 0.3 percent gain in November. This gain was driven by increases in the Gulf Coast and Ohio Valley regions. For the second consecutive month, production increased in all seven regions of the U.S. during December. For the year as a whole, the U.S. CPRI was ahead by 1.2%.

On a three-month moving average (3MMA), output of the nation’s overall manufacturing sector was 0.6 percent higher in December, following a similar gain November. Within the manufacturing sector, output in several key chemistry end-use markets expanded, including appliances, motor vehicles, construction materials, fabricated metal products, computers, semiconductors, plastic products, structural panels, printing, apparel, and furniture.

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

Compared to December 2012, total chemical production in all regions was ahead by 1.4 percent on a year-over-year basis, following a 1.5 percent gain in November. Chemical production remained ahead in all regions compared to a year ago.

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 (3MMA). Thus, the reading in December reflects production activity during October, November, and December.

Following an upwardly revised 0.7 percent gain in November, chemical production in the Gulf Coast region rose by 1.4 percent in December. December production was ahead by 1.6 percent from a year ago and up by 1.9 percent for the year as a whole. The Gulf Coast region is dominated by the production of key building block materials, such as petrochemicals, inorganics, and synthetic materials, advantaged by shale gas development.

In the Midwest region, which is influenced by production of agricultural chemicals, plastics, paints, and other chemical products, chemical production gained by 0.8 percent in December, following an upwardly  revised 0.4 percent gain in November. Compared to December 2012, Midwest chemical production was up by 0.9 percent, and up 0.8 percent for the year as a whole.

In the Ohio Valley region, largely influenced by production of basic chemicals, plastics and synthetic rubber, coatings, and consumer products, chemical production expanded by 1.5 percent in December, following an upwardly revised 0.7 percent gain in November. Compared to December 2012, production in the region was up by 2.6 percent, and was also up 3.8 percent for the year as a whole.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, where pharmaceutical manufacturing is prominent, chemical production was higher by 0.4 percent in December, following a 0.2 percent gain in November. Compared to December 2012, Mid-Atlantic chemical production was up by 0.1 percent and was 0.1 percent higher for the year as a whole.

In the Southeast region, which is influenced heavily by production of basic chemicals, fibers, agricultural and other chemical products, chemical production edged higher by 0.8 percent in December, following an upwardly revised 0.4 percent gain during November. Compared to December 2012, Southeast region chemical production was up by 1.6 percent year-over-year and was higher by 1.4 percent for the year as a whole.

In the Northeast region, which is influenced by pharmaceutical manufacturing and other specialty chemical manufacturing, chemical production rose by 0.5 percent during December, following a downwardly revised 0.2 percent gain in November. Compared to December 2012, Northeast region chemical production was up by 0.2 percent, and was 0.7 percent higher for the year as a whole.

In the West Coast region, chemical production edged higher by 0.4 percent in December, following a 0.1 percent increase in November. Chemical production in the West Coast region was up by 0.5 percent from last year, but remained essentially flat, down by 0.1 percent, for the year as a whole.

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