28 November 2012 23:13 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Refiners along the US Gulf coast are operating at rates exceeding 90%, and strong foreign demand is preventing refined-product inventories from growing, the US Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.
For petrochemicals, production was up slightly, but companies had cautious outlooks because of uncertainty, the Fed said in its Beige Book, a summary of economic activity among the 12 Federal Reserve districts.
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For oil, recent price declines and volatility are discouraging producers from drilling in higher cost fields, the Fed said.
However, oil prices remain high enough to support current activity, which should remain steady for the rest of the year before increasing in 2013, the Fed said.
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The rate increases and spending cuts are mandatory, unless the White House and Congress can engineer a budget resolution in the next few weeks to eliminate most, if not all, of the mandated tax hikes and spending reductions.
Meanwhile, consumer spending grew modestly while manufacturing weakened, the Fed said. Both residential and commercial real estate grew slightly in several districts.
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