US manufacturing surveys show positive growth - chem council

21 August 2009 18:05  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Two US manufacturing surveys indicated an improved economic outlook with business conditions surging to levels not seen since November 2007, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said in its weekly economic report on Friday.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey, prepared by the New York Federal Reserve, indicated that conditions for New York manufacturers improved in August for the first time in “considerably more than a year”.

The survey’s general business conditions index increased to 12.1 points from -0.5 points in the previous month, marking its highest level since November 2007.

Any reading above zero indicates expanding regional business activities.

The indexes for new orders, shipments, employment and capital expenditures also rose to their highest levels in many months, the ACC said.

New York has the third-largest state chemical industry in the US, with shipments totalling $37bn (€25.9m) each year.

Likewise, the Business Outlook Survey from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showed that economic activity in the region’s manufacturing sector expanded in August for the first time in nine months and reached its highest level since November 2007.

The current business conditions index rose to 4.2 from -7.5 in July, and the new orders, shipments and inventories’ indexes all increased as well.

In addition, the survey noted a marked improvement in manufacturers’ expectations for the next six months, with that index rising 4.9 points to 56.8.

“The report suggests that the Philadelphia-area industrial economy is returning to growth with the expectation for the trend to continue,” the ACC said.

The Philadelphia region is home to a number of chemical companies with a strong regional focus in fine and other specialty chemicals, finished pharmaceuticals, and some inorganic chemicals, according to the ACC.

The council noted that overall US chemical production slipped 0.5% in July, following a 0.5% decline in June.

However, data for July suggests that basic industrial chemicals - including petrochemicals and other organic chemicals - saw improvement, the ACC said.

On a global basis, production rose 0.3% in July, marking the fifth consecutive monthly rise and suggesting a bottom to the global economic downturn has been reached and that a recovery is emerging, the ACC said.

($1 = €0.70)

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By: Ben DuBose
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