US April chemical shipments rise 4%, petchems up 12%

04 June 2012 18:20  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The value of shipments of US-made chemicals in April rose 4% year on year, led by a double-digit increase in petrochemicals, 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 totalled $63.74bn (€51.63bn) in April, compared with $61.19bn a year earlier.

The largest sector of chemical products tracked in the Census data – petrochemicals – turned up in April for the first time this year, ending a string of four straight months of declines.

Petrochemical shipments in April totalled $43.02bn, up by almost 12% compared with $38.51bn in the same month last year.

April marked a resumption in positive monthly gains for US chemical shipments, following a 2.5% decline in March. The decline in March ended a string of 27 months of year-on-year gains for US chemical shipments since December 2009.

The value of total shipments for all US manufacturing industries in April extended its string of year-on-year gains to 29 straight months.

Total manufacturing shipments rose by 6% to $473.22bn, compared with $444.52bn in April 2011, according to the data. This includes fabricated metal and wood products, furniture, all machinery including computers, transportation and electrical equipment.

Chemicals ranked as the second largest non-durable goods industry in the US in April, surpassed only by petroleum and coal products, which had a shipment value of $69.75bn.

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 April.

Paints, coatings and adhesives continued to rise, increasing by nearly 24% with $2.89bn in shipments compared with $2.34bn in April 2011.

The value of pesticides and fertilizer shipments fell the most of any chemical sector, reflecting the end of the spring sales season. Shipments in that sector declined to $3.36bn, a drop of 25% compared with $4.51bn in April 2011.

Pharmaceuticals declined for the ninth month in the past 10, with $14.46bn shipped in April, down by almost 9% compared with $15.82bn in the same month of 2011.

($1 = €0.81)


By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653



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