US December chemical shipments rise about 2% year on year

03 February 2012 18:14  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Shipments of US-made chemicals in December inched up about 2% year on year, according to data released on Friday by the US Department of Commerce.

The Census data showed that the value of US land and water chemical shipments increased year on year to $61.86bn (€47.01bn) in December from $60.82bn.

This was the 25th straight month of year-on-year gains since December 2009. December 2011 shipments were also slightly higher than the November total.

December stood among the weakest months of 2011 in shipment value of US-made chemicals. April shipments marked the low point of the year, followed by November, October and December.

The value of total shipments for all US manufacturing industries in December increased by 5%, according to the data.

Chemicals represent one of the largest non-durable goods industries in the US, surpassed in December only by petroleum and coal products ($71.03bn) and food products ($62.70bn) in shipment value.

The gain in December chemical shipments followed all manufactured non-durable goods shipped in the US, which rose by 3% to $207.48bn from $200.84bn 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. Only two of the sectors showed gains in November.

The largest – petrochemicals – came in slightly behind compared with the same month in 2010. Petrochemical shipments in December totalled $38.17bn, down less than half a percentage point compared with $38.32bn in the same month last year.

The largest gain came in pesticides and fertilizer shipments, valued at $5.55bn, up by 22% over $4.54bn in December 2010. That sector had a boom year in 2011, with double-digit percentage increases each month because of a spike up in global demand, particularly in Asia and South America.

Pharmaceuticals fell slightly in December, with $15.41bn shipped, compared with $15.48bn in the same month of 2010.

Shipments in the smallest sector – paints, coatings and adhesives – continued to turn up, rising by 10% with $2.72bn in cargoes sent compared with $2.47bn in December 2010.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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