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U.S. Chemical Production Up 1.2 Percent Over Year Ago; Growth Seen In All Major Producing Regions


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

WASHINGTON (March 21, 2013) – According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) rose 0.6 percent in February, following a revised 0.8 percent gain in January. Chemical production rose across all regions for the third consecutive month.

On a three-month moving average (3MMA), output of the nation’s overall manufacturing sector posted a 0.6 percent gain in February, following a revised 0.9 percent gain in January. Within the manufacturing sector, output in several key chemistry end-use markets increased, including appliances, motor vehicles, aerospace, construction materials, machinery, computers, paper, printing, structural panels, plastic products, apparel, and furniture. Domestic manufacturing demand for U.S. manufactured goods is a key driver for U.S. chemistry. With improvements in consumer spending and capital investment, this bodes well for chemistry production.

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

Compared to February 2012, total chemical production in all regions was up by 1.2 percent, following a 1.4 percent year-over-year gain in January. The year-over-year comparisons remained positive across all regions except the Mid-Atlantic and West Coast regions. Comparing the first two months of 2013 to those in 2012, chemical production was up 1.3 percent nationally, with five of the seven regions posting gains.

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.

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 February reflects production activity during December, January, and February.

Following a 0.8 percent increase in January, chemical production in the Gulf Coast region edged up by 0.5 percent in February. In February, production was up 2.8 percent compared to a year before, but was up by 3.0 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.

In the Midwest region, which is influenced by production of agricultural chemicals, plastics, paints, and other chemical products, chemical production rose by 0.8 percent during February, following a similar increase during January. Compared to February 2012, Midwest chemical production was up by 0.5 percent, and was up 0.5 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 February, following a 0.9 percent gain in January. Compared to February 2012, production in the region was up by 4.1 percent, and was up 4.6 percent on a year-to-date basis.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, where pharmaceutical manufacturing is prominent, chemical production increased by 0.8 percent in February, following a 0.7 percent gain during January. Compared to February 2012, Mid-Atlantic chemical production was off 0.3 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 edged up by 0.6 percent in February, following a 0.7 percent increase during January. Compared to February 2012, Southeast region chemical production was up by 0.6 percent year-over-year and ahead 0.7 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 0.7 percent during February, following a 0.7 percent gain in January. Compared to February 2012, Northeast region chemical production was ahead by 0.3 percent, and was up by 0.2 percent on a year-to-date basis.

In the West Coast region, chemical production rose by 0.9 percent in February, following a 0.7 percent increase in January. Chemical production in the West Coast region was off 1.0 percent from last year and remained down 1.3 percent on a year-to-date basis.

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