US Gulf coast chem production rises year on year – Fed

17 April 2013 19:41  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US production along the Gulf coast rose year on year, and refineries benefitted from higher operating rates and margins, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.

The increases at Gulf coast refineries was partly caused by seasonal trends, the Fed said in its Beige Book, a summary of economic activity among the 12 Federal Reserve districts.

Petroleum shipments remained strong in the 11th district based in Dallas, Texas, the Fed said. The 11th district includes much of the US Gulf coast, the nation's petrochemical hub.

Energy activity rose slightly in the 11th district, and energy-related service firms seemed more confident that the decline in drilling rigs may have bottomed out, the Fed said. Nonetheless, margins for services remained tight and pricing changed little.

The energy industry expects drilling to increase in the second half of the year, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico, the Fed said.

For the US as a whole, economic activity increased moderately from late February to early April, the period covered in the Beige Book, the Fed said.

For most parts of the country, manufacturing increased, especially for those industries tied to residential construction and automobiles, the Fed said.

Consumer spending grew modestly, and retailers expect sales to continue growing, the Fed said.

By: Al Greenwood
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