US March petrochemical shipments rise 10% year on year

03 May 2013 17:52  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The value of US-made chemical shipments in March fell slightly year on year, while the petrochemical sector gained by 10%, according to data released on Friday by the US Department of Commerce.

The value of US land and water chemical shipments totalled $61.88bn (€47.02bn) in March, a slight decrease from $62.05bn a year earlier.

The largest chemical sector tracked by the census – petrochemicals – extended its year-on-year string of monthly gains to 12 straight months, with shipments in March totalling $42.71bn, compared with $38.85bn in the same month of 2012.

The value of total shipments for all US manufacturing industries in March continued its string of year-on-year gains to 40 straight months. That string began in December 2009.

Total manufacturing shipments rose by 3.3% to $481.76bn, compared with $466.19bn in March 2012, the data showed. This includes fabricated metal and wood products, furniture, and all machinery including computers, transportation and electrical equipment.

Chemicals ranked as the fourth largest non-durable goods industry in the US in March, behind petroleum and coal products ($70.51bn), transportation equipment ($67.84bn) and food products ($62.32bn).

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 March.

Besides the rise in petrochemicals, paints, coatings and adhesives maintained its recovery, increasing by about 6% with $2.84bn in shipments compared with $2.68bn in March 2012.

In negative territory, the value of pesticides and fertilizer shipments continued to drop, falling by more than any chemical sector for the 12th month in a row.

The US drought plus global production issues brought declines of 25-50% year on year in the last nine months of 2012 beginning in April, and another plunge in the first quarter this year. Shipments in that sector fell to a value of $2.80bn, a 48% drop compared with $5.40bn in March 2012.

The value of pharmaceutical shipments declined by almost 11% in February, totalling $13.52bn compared with $15.11bn in the same month last year.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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