US petchem production rises year on year – Fed

16 January 2013 22:10  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US petrochemical production along the US Gulf coast rose year on year, while refineries operated at rates exceeding 90%, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.

Although US demand for distillates was sluggish, strong foreign demand kept inventories from building, the Fed said in its January Beige Book, a summary of recent economic activity among the 12 Federal Reserve districts.

The Gulf coast is part of the 11th district in Dallas, Texas, which includes much of the petrochemical production in the US.

Energy production remained high despite a decline in the rig count, driven by low prices for natural gas, the Fed said.

Oil prices are high enough to support current production, but, because of volatility, some companies are nervous about drilling in higher cost fields, the Fed said.

For the country, all 12 districts reported modest or moderate economic growth, with the northeast rebounding from Hurricane Sandy, the Fed said.

Consumer spending rose, with holiday sales rising modestly from 2011, the Fed reported. However, those sales did not meet the expectations of most districts.

Automobile sales were either steady or stronger in nearly every district, although dealers were concerned that uncertainty in US fiscal policy could discourage people from buying cars.

By: Al Greenwood
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