US November chemical shipments rise 2% year on year

04 January 2012 18:05  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Shipments of US-made chemicals in November rose about 2% year on year, according to data released on Wednesday by the US Department of Commerce.

Chemical shipments in November, which were a little less than the October total, recorded the 24th straight month of year-on-year gains since December 2009.

The Census data showed that the value of US-made-chemical shipments by land and water totalled $61.35bn (€47.24bn) in the month, compared with November 2010 shipments valued at $60.09bn.

It was the second weakest month for shipments of US-made chemicals in 2011. In April, shipments rose just 1% in dollar value year on year. Most monthly gains since April have been 2-7% year on year. Shipments rose 3% in October.

All US manufacturing industries in November increased by 7% in the value of total shipments, according to the data.

Chemicals represent one of the largest non-durable goods industries in the US, surpassed in November only by petroleum and coal products ($72.18bn) and food products ($62.52bn) in shipment value.

The gain in November chemical shipments trailed all manufactured non-durable goods shipped in the US, which rose 10% to $252.11bn from $228.18bn in the same month last year.

The US Census Bureau separates the chemical industry into four sectors: pesticides and fertilizers; pharmaceuticals; petrochemicals; and chemicals used in paints, coatings and adhesives. Three of the sectors showed gains in November.

The largest – petrochemicals – managed just barely to come out ahead over the same month in 2010. Petrochemical shipments in November totalled $37.54bn, up less than 1% compared with $37.43bn in the same month last year.

The largest gain came in pesticides and fertilizer shipments, valued at $5.86bn, up nearly 36% over $4.32bn in October 2010. That sector had a boom year in 2011 through November, with double-digit percentage increases each month because of a spike up in global demand, particularly in Asia and South America.

Pharmaceuticals fell about 3% during November with $15.32bn shipped, compared with $15.77bn in the same month of 2010.

Shipments in the smallest sector – paints, coatings and adhesives – turned up in November for only the fourth monthly gain this year, rising 2% with $2.63bn in cargoes sent compared with $2.57bn in November 2010.

($1 = €0.77)

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in chemicals and the economy


By: Lane Kelley
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