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U.S. Chemical Production Expanded in November; All Seven Regions Posted Gains


Contact: Kelly Miller (202) 249-6507  
Email: Kelly_Miller@americanchemistry.com

WASHINGTON (December 18, 2013) – According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) rose by 0.3 percent in November, following three consecutive monthly declines. Production increased in all seven regions of the U.S. during November.

On a three-month moving average (3MMA), output of the nation’s overall manufacturing sector was 0.4 percent higher in November, following a similar gain in October. Within the manufacturing sector, output in several key chemistry end-use markets expanded, including motor vehicles, construction materials, machinery, fabricated metal products, computers, semiconductors, plastic products, structural panels, printing, textiles, apparel, and furniture. After nearly five years, headline industrial production surpassed its previous peak. Recent resurgence in the industrial sector and balanced chemical inventories bodes well for future chemical production.

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

Compared to November 2012, total chemical production in all regions was ahead by 1.5 percent on a year-over-year basis, following a revised 1.7 percent gain in October. Chemical production remained ahead in all regions compared to a year ago. Comparing the first eleven months of 2013 to that in 2012, chemical production was up 1.3 percent nationally, with six 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 (3MMA). Thus, the reading in November reflects production activity during September, October, and November.

Following an upwardly revised 0.5 percent gain in October, chemical production in the Gulf Coast region rose by 0.4 percent in November. November production was ahead by 1.2 percent from a year ago and up by 2.0 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, 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 0.2 percent in November, following a downwardly  revised 0.2 percent decline in October. Compared to November 2012, Midwest chemical production was up by 1.4 percent, and up 0.9 percent on a year-to-date basis.

In the Ohio Valley region, largely influenced by production of basic chemicals, plastics and synthetic rubber, coatings, and consumer products, chemical production expanded by 0.4 percent in November, following an upwardly revised 0.1 percent decline in October. Compared to November 2012, production in the region was up by 2.2 percent, and was also up 4.0 percent on a year-to-date basis.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, where pharmaceutical manufacturing is prominent, chemical production was higher by 0.2 percent in November, following an upwardly revised 0.3 percent decline in October. Compared to November 2012, Mid-Atlantic chemical production was up by 1.2 percent, and was 0.1 percent higher 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 higher by 0.2 percent in November, following an upwardly revised 0.2 percent decline during October. Compared to November 2012, Southeast region chemical production was up by 2.2 percent year-over-year and was higher by 1.5 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 0.2 percent during November, following a downwardly revised 0.4 percent decline in October. Compared to November 2012, Northeast region chemical production was up by 1.1 percent, and was 0.7 percent higher on a year-to-date basis.

In the West Coast region, chemical production edged higher by 0.1 percent in November, following a 0.3 percent decline in October. Chemical production in the West Coast region was up by 1.6 percent from last year, but remained essentially flat, down by 0.1 percent, on a year-to-date basis.

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