US December petrochemical shipments increase 12% year on year

04 February 2013 20:43  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The value of US-made chemical shipments in December posted another small increase year on year, with the petrochemicals sector gaining by 12.7%, according to data released on Monday by the US Department of Commerce.

The value of US land and water chemical shipments totalled $62.71bn (€45.78bn) in December, up by 1.4% compared with $61.86bn a year earlier.

June was the low point in 2012, with the value of US chemical shipments rising slightly every month since then.

The largest chemical sector tracked by the census – petrochemicals – rose again, with shipments in December totalling $43.0bn, compared with $38.17bn in the same month of 2011. The value of petrochemical shipments has increased year on year for nine straight months.

The value of total shipments for all US manufacturing industries in December extended its string of year-on-year gains to 37 straight months.

Total manufacturing shipments rose by 5.5% to $484.85bn, compared with $459.39bn in December 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 December, behind petroleum and coal products ($73.25bn) and transportation equipment ($66.64bn).

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 sectors showed gains in December.

Besides the gain in petrochemicals, paints, coatings and adhesives continued to rise, increasing by 6.6% with $2.90bn in shipments compared with $2.72bn in December 2011.

The value of pesticides and fertilizer shipments continued to plunge, falling the most of any chemical sector.

Production issues in Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean brought declines of 25-50% year on year in the last nine months of 2012 beginning in April. Shipments in that sector fell to $3.47bn, a drop of 37.5% compared with $5.55bn in December 2011.

($1 = €0.73)

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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