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Data Show Pace of Decline is Moderating

WASHINGTON (June 29, 2020) – Data collected and tabulated by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) show that with growth in China partially offset by widespread weakness elsewhere, global chemicals production fell 0.5 percent in May, an improvement from the 1.3 percent decline in April and 3.2 percent decline in March. During May, chemical production fell in every major region except Asia-Pacific. Headline global production was off 6.6 percent year-over-year (Y/Y) on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis and was down 7.7 percent from the peak level in December. Global output stood at 109.8 percent of its average 2012 levels.

During May, global chemical capacity rose by 0.3 percent and was up 3.2 percent Y/Y. As a result, with the decline in production, capacity utilization fell 0.6 points to 75.1 percent. This is down from 83.0 percent last May, below the long-term (1987-2017) average of 86.5 percent, and the lowest level since March 2009.

Among chemical industry segments, May results were negative across most segments, with some gains in consumer products, synthetic rubber, and manufactured fibers – primarily in China –providing some support. Compared with year-earlier data, growth was absent among segments, with a strong decline in coatings.

ACC’s Global Chemical Production Regional Index (Global CPRI) measures the production volume of the chemical industry for 33 key nations, sub-regions, and regions, all aggregated to the world total. The index is comparable to the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) production indices and features a similar base year where 2012=100. The index is developed from government industrial production indices for chemicals from more than 65 nations accounting for about 98 percent of the total global chemical industry. This data set is the only timely source of market trends for the global chemical industry and is comparable to the U.S. CPRI data, a timely source of U.S. regional chemical production.




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