US petchem production rises, while refinery rates decline - Fed

07 March 2013 00:05  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US petrochemical production along the US Gulf Coast rose year on year across most product categories, while refinery operating rates declined and margins increased during the reporting period, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday in its March Beige Book.

Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve districts indicated that US economic activity expanded at a modest to moderate pace since January’s Beige Book.

The Gulf Coast is part of the 11th district in DallasTexas, which includes much of the petrochemical production in the US.

In the energy sector, activity remained at high levels across the districts, and respondents at energy-related service firms told the Fed that the number of active drilling rigs seems to have bottomed out. Contacts told the Fed that expectations for average drilling activity in 2013 are being revised up, with most of the improvement expected to occur in the second half of the year.

Several transportation service firms told the Fed that demand weakened since its last report, but overall outlooks were improved. Railroad sources said cargo volumes were down, although petroleum shipments were up strongly.

Housing sources told the Fed that demand for new and existing homes remained strong, while real estate sources noted that extremely low inventories were leading to price increases.

Automobile sales were strong or solid most districts, contacts told the Fed.

By: Jeremy Pafford
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