US chemicals output steady in September but plastics declined

16 October 2012 19:29  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US chemicals production held steady in September from August while the output of plastics and rubber products fell slightly, the Federal Reserve Board said on Tuesday.

In its monthly report on the nation’s industrial production and capacity utilisation, the Fed said that chemicals output in September was down by 1% from the same month last year.

And while plastics and rubber production fell by 0.7% in September, that industrial segment was still 1.8% ahead of the same period in 2011.

All figures provided by the Fed are on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Reflecting the static output for chemicals last month, the Fed said that the sector’s capacity utilisation rate also held steady in September, with 76.4% of the nation’s chemicals productive capacity at work.

That 76.4% capacity utilisation rate for September marks the third straight month at that level. Capacity utilisation for the sector had been as high as 77.8% in April this year, but it eased down to 76.7% by June.

The downturn in plastics and rubber output last month also is reflected in the sector’s capacity utilisation, which eased to 77.5% in September from the August reading of 78.1%.

That August figure is down from the most recent high point for plastics and rubber capacity utilisation, which peaked at 79.6% in July.

The Federal Reserve Board is the US central bank.

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


By: Joe Kamalick
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