24 April 2009 21:31 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US chemical production rose by 0.2% in March month over month, reversing a 0.8% decline in February based on gains within basic industrial chemicals, agricultural chemicals and consumer products, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said in its weekly economic report issued on Friday.
“As demand for nearly all goods and services fell sharply during the fourth quarter and into the first quarter, so did demand for chemicals,” the report said.
“Preliminary data for March suggests that production declines in the chemical industry are slowing in some segments.”
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The effects of the recession, however, were still present on a year-over-year basis. Chemical production was off 11.3% from March 2008 and down 11.6% on a year-to-date basis.
Meanwhile, production of chlorine and co-produced caustic soda showed the biggest declines. Chlorine production fell to 23,762 tonnes/day in March from 28,899 tonnes/day in February, while caustic soda output dropped to 24,985 tonnes/day from 30,315 tonnes/day.
While the past week has been poor for the broader
On a broader basis, two surveys indicated that the rate of decline for the
A survey conducted by the National Association for Business Economics showed improving results, relative to January, among business executives for industry demand, profit margins, employment, capital spending and credit conditions.
The net rising index for industry demand, or the percentage of respondents who reported rising demand versus the percentage who reported falling demand, improved to -14 from -28 due to stabilising conditions in the financial and service sectors, the group said.
“Declines still outnumber gains, but fewer firms are reporting declines and more are reporting gains,” said Sara Johnson, an economist at IHS Global Insight and spokeswoman for the survey group. “This suggests the economy is at an inflection point, but has not yet reached a turning point.”
Moreover, the ACC’s monthly economic forecasters survey remained relatively similar to last month’s projections.
Consumer spending, light vehicle sales and housing starts should lead the recovery, the ACC said.Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
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