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WASHINGTON (March 25, 2020) – Data collected and tabulated by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) show that led by a large decline in China due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, global chemicals production fell 2.4 percent in February, an acceleration from the 0.8 percent decline in January. During February, chemical production increased in the Former Soviet Union (FSU), was flat in Europe, and declined elsewhere. Headline global production was off 1.5 percent year-over-year (Y/Y) on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis and stood at 115.0 percent of its average 2012 levels.

During February, global capacity rose by 0.3 percent and was up 3.3 percent Y/Y. As a result, with the decline in production, capacity utilization in the global chemical industry fell 2.1 points to 79.3 percent. This is down from 83.2 percent last January, below the long-term (1987-2017) average of 86.5 percent, and the first time below 80 percent since August 2009.

Among chemical industry segments, February results were decidedly negative across all segments. Considering year-earlier comparisons, growth was present in only plastic resins.

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. This index is developed from government industrial production indices for chemicals from over 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 are comparable to the U.S. CPRI data, a timely source of U.S. regional chemical production.

Global CPRI Chart 1

Global CPRI Chart 2

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