April US chemical shipments jump 21% year over year

03 June 2010 17:28  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Shipments of US-made chemicals continued to climb in April, jumping 21% year over year and racking up the sixth straight month of gains, according to data released on Thursday by the US Commerce Department.

Shipments of US-made chemicals totalled $60.33bn (€49.47bn), compared with $49.8bn in April 2009, according to US Census data.

It was the highest total value for US chemicals transported since August 2008, when shipments totalled $60.21bn.

But the increase in chemical shipments lagged slightly behind the transport of all manufactured non-durable goods, which shot up 23% to $226.29bn, compared with $183.5bn in April 2009, according to Census data.

The petroleum industry showed the greatest increase of all manufactured non-durable goods sectors. Crude and coal cargoes totalled $57.21bn during the month, up 94% over $29.49bn shipped in the same period last year. Petroleum refiners shipped $54bn during April, more than doubling the $26.73bn shipped in the same month of 2009.

The Census Bureau divides the chemical industry into four sectors: pesticides and fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals and chemicals used in paints, coatings and adhesives.

All four segments increased in total shipments in April, with pesticides and fertilizers leading the way due to the advent of the spring growing season, up 29% over the same month last year.

Petrochemical shipments increased almost as much, up more than 28%, totalling $38.39bn compared with $29.89bn for the same time last year, the data showed.

Pharmaceutical shipments rose 7% in April with almost $15.4bn shipped, compared with $14.4bn in the same month of 2009.

The paints, coatings and adhesives sector - a leading indicator of the housing market - showed a gain, totalling $2.65bn shipped in April, up 6% compared with $2.5bn in the same month of 2009.

($1 = €0.82)

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By: Lane Kelley
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