Chemicals sector shares in general US March manufacturing growth

01 April 2010 19:01  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--The broad US manufacturing industry grew in March at the fastest pace in nearly six years, a key survey group said on Thursday, with chemicals production among gainers but with plastics as the sole sector showing contraction.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said that its monthly purchasing managers index (PMI) for March was at 59.6%, the highest level since July 2004 and the eighth consecutive month for manufacturing growth.

The PMI combines data in ten business performance measures for 18 different manufacturing industries in the US. An index reading above 50% indicates that the manufacturing sector is generally expanding, while an index below 50% means that production is contracting.

Among the ten performance measures used in compiling the PMI, the institute noted that both new orders and production rose above 60% in March, “closing the first quarter with significant momentum going forward”.

The March index of 59.6% was slightly more than three percentage points above the February reading of 56.5%, more than offsetting the decline that the February PMI had shown in comparison with the January index measure of 58.4%.

The March PMI also shows considerable improvement from the April 2009 reading of just over 40%, the institute noted.

Among the 18 manufacturing industries surveyed for the index, the chemicals sector was among the 17 production businesses that reported growth in March, the institute said.

“The plastics and rubber products sector is the only industry reporting contraction during March,” the institute said.

In addition, among the 16 manufacturing industries - in addition to chemicals - that saw growth in March are several that are key downstream consuming sectors for chemicals and chemicals-related products, including textiles, computers and electronics, foods and beverages, appliances, transportation equipment and furniture production.

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