US May chemical shipments rise 1%, petchems up 9%

03 July 2012 17:07  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The value of shipments of US-made chemicals in May rose 1% year on year, led by a 9% increase in petrochemicals, according to data released on Tuesday by the US Department of Commerce.

The Census data showed that the value of US land and water chemical shipments totalled $63.26bn (€49.97bn) in May, compared with $62.61bn a year earlier.

The largest chemical sector tracked in the Census data – petrochemicals – rose for the second time this year, with shipments in that month totalling $42.84bn, up by 9% compared with $39.13bn in the same month of 2011.

May continued a resumption in positive monthly gains for US chemical shipments that began in April following a 2.5% decline in March. The March dip 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 May extended its string of year-on-year gains to 30 straight months.

Total manufacturing shipments rose by 7% to $475.95bn, compared with $443.93bn in May 2011, the data showed. This includes fabricated metal and wood products, furniture, all machinery including computers, transportation and electrical equipment.

Chemicals ranked as the third largest non-durable goods industry in the US in May, surpassed only by transportation equipment ($65.09bn) and petroleum and coal products ($70.08bn).

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 May.

Paints, coatings and adhesives continued to show positive gains, increasing by 20% with $2.94bn in shipments compared with $2.45bn in May 2011.

The value of pesticides and fertilizer shipments fell the most of any chemical sector, reflecting the end of the spring sales season and lower ammonia prices. Shipments in that sector declined to $3.08bn, a drop of 40% compared with $5.11bn in May 2011.

Pharmaceuticals declined for the tenth month in the past 11, with $14.39bn shipped in May, down by almost 10% compared with $15.91bn in the same month of 2011.

($1 = €0.79)

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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