Contact: Patrick Hurston (202) 249-6506
WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 24, 2012) – According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) slipped by 0.2 percent in August, following a revised 0.5 percent decline in July. Chemical production declined in all regions except the Gulf Coast, which posted a gain; and the Ohio Valley, which was flat.
Though overall U.S. chemical production declined in August, based on a three month moving average, individual components of the index were mixed. Gains in the output of inorganic chemicals, industrial gases, plastic resins, and synthetic rubber were offset by lower production of fertilizers, coatings, adhesives, consumer products, organic chemicals, pesticides, synthetic rubber, and pharmaceuticals.
A three month moving average also showed output of the nation’s overall manufacturing sector to be flat in August, following a downwardly revised 0.1 percent gain in July. Within the manufacturing sector, output in several key chemistry end-use markets increased, including motor vehicles, aerospace, computers and electronics, plastic and rubber products, and printing. Europe’s recession, a slowdown in China, and economic and political uncertainty in the United States continue to constrain investment and consumer demand. As a result, manufacturing, which had been a driver of the recovery, has softened in recent months.
Compared to August 2011, total chemical production in all regions was off by 0.4 percent, the first negative year-over-year comparison in a year. The year-over-year comparisons were ahead in the Gulf Coast and Ohio Valley regions, but negative in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Northeast and West Coast regions. On a year-to-date basis (comparing the first eight months of 2012 with those a year ago), chemical production was up 0.2 percent nationally. Only the Ohio Valley and Northeast 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 August reflects production activity during June, July, and August.
Following a revised 0.3 percent decline in July, chemical production in the Gulf Coast region was up by 0.3 percent in August. Compared to a year ago, production was up 1.5 percent, but remained off by 0.2 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 0.3 percent during August, following a 0.6 percent decline in July. Compared to August 2011, Midwest chemical production was down by 0.8 percent, and was off 0.2 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 was flat in August, after easing by 0.1 percent in July. Compared to August 2011, production in the region was up by 2.3 percent, and was up 1.7 percent on a year-to-date basis.
In the Mid-Atlantic region, where pharmaceutical manufacturing is prominent, chemical production slipped by 0.4 percent in August, following a 0.7 percent decline in July. Compared to August 2011, Mid-Atlantic chemical production was off 1.8 percent, and was off 0.5 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 0.3 percent in August, following a 0.6 percent decline during July. Compared to August 2011, Southeast region chemical production was down 0.7 percent year-over-year, but remained flat on a year-to-date basis.
In the Northeast region, which is influenced by pharmaceutical manufacturing and other specialty chemical manufacturing, chemical production fell by 0.4 percent during August, after falling 0.6 percent in July. Compared to August 2011, Northeast region chemical production was off 1.2 percent, but was ahead by 0.4 percent on a year-to-date basis.
In the West Coast region, chemical production declined by 0.6 percent in August, after falling 0.8 percent in July. Chemical production in the West Coast region was off 2.3 percent from last year, and remained down 0.6 percent on a year-to-date basis.
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.