US chemicals production falls in Aug as manufacturing weakens

24 September 2012 17:54  [Source: ICIS news]

A US chemicals plantWASHINGTON (ICIS)--US chemicals production fell in August from July as part of an overall softening across the nation’s broad manufacturing sector, a key report said on Monday.

In addition, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said that US chemicals output last month was down by 0.4% from August 2011, the first negative year-over-year comparison in a year.

In its monthly report on the nation’s chemicals output – the US chemical production regional index (US CPRI) – the council said that chemical manufacturing fell marginally by 0.2% in August and followed a revised 0.5% downturn in July.

“Chemical production declined in all regions except the Gulf  coast, which posted a gain, and the Ohio Valley, which was flat,” the report said.

The downturn in US chemicals production in large part reflected the recent slide in general manufacturing.

“A three-month moving average also showed output of the nation’s overall manufacturing sector to be flat in August, following a downwardly revised 0.1% gain in July,” the council’s report noted.

The general health of the US manufacturing sector is critical for the country’s chemicals industry because manufacturing is the largest consumer of chemical products.

In addition to the US domestic decline, the CPRI report noted that “Europe’s recession, a slowdown in China and economic and political uncertainty in the US continue to constrain investment and consumer demand”.

“As a result, manufacturing, which had been a driver of the recovery, has softened in recent months,” the report said.

The decline in US chemicals output combined with downturns in chemicals production in the EU and eastern Europe almost completely offset a nearly 8% gain in Asia Pacific chemicals manufacturing in August, lowering the global chemicals output gain to a mere 0.1%.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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