US January chemical shipments rise less than 1% year on year

05 March 2012 17:35  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The value of shipments of US-made chemicals in January rose by 0.5% year on year, according to data released on Monday by the US Department of Commerce.

The Census data showed that the value of US land and water chemical shipments edged up to $62.07bn (€47.17bn) in January from $62.04bn a year earlier.

This was the 26th straight month of year-on-year gains since December 2009, but also the smallest monthly percentage gain in that stretch. January 2012 shipments were also slightly higher than the December 2011 total.

January stood halfway between the strongest and weakest months of the past year in shipment value of US-made chemicals. March was the peak, with the low in April.

The value of total shipments for all US manufacturing industries in January increased by almost 4%, to $463.64bn, compared with $447.44bn in January 2011, according to the data. This includes fabricated metal and wood products, furniture, all machinery including computers, transportation and electrical equipment.

Chemicals represent one of the largest non-durable goods industries in the US, surpassed in January only by petroleum and coal products ($74.05bn) and food products ($62.87bn) in shipment value.

The percentage gain in January chemical shipments trailed all manufactured non-durable goods shipped in the US, which rose almost 5% to $255.65bn from $244.60bn in the same month last year.

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

The largest – petrochemicals – declined for the second month in a row, compared with the same month of 2011. Petrochemical shipments in January totalled $38.25bn, down by 4% compared with $39.70bn in the same month last year.

Shipments in the smallest sector – paints, coatings and adhesives – continued to rise, increasing by 14% with $2.79bn in shipments compared with $2.45bn in January 2011.

The largest gain came in pesticides and fertilizer shipments, valued at $5.79bn, up by 26% over $4.59bn in January 2011. That sector had a boom year in 2011, with monthly double-digit percentage increases from a spike in global demand, particularly in Asia and South America.

Pharmaceuticals dipped slightly for the second month in a row, with $15.23bn shipped, compared with $15.29bn in the same month of 2011.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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