US chem shipments fall year on year for second month in a row

05 June 2013 16:38  [Source: ICIS news]

US chem shipments fall year on year for second month in a rowHOUSTON (ICIS)--The value of US-made chemical shipments dropped by 1.4% in April year on year, the second straight month that shipments have declined, according to data released on Wednesday by the US Department of Commerce.

The value of US land and water chemical shipments totalled $62.85bn (€47.77bn) in April, compared with $63.74bn a year earlier.

US chemical shipments fell slightly in March, by less than 0.3%.

The largest chemical sector tracked by the census – petrochemicals – also declined in April, with shipment values dropping 2.9% to $41.78bn, compared with $43.02bn in April 2012.

The decline ended 12 straight months of year-on-year gains for petrochemical shipments.

The value of total shipments for all US manufacturing industries in April continued its string of year-on-year gains to 41 straight months. That string began in December 2009.

Total manufacturing shipments rose by 1.1% to $478.66bn, compared with $473.22bn in April 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 third largest non-durable goods industry in the US in April, behind petroleum and coal products ($68.73bn) and transportation equipment ($66.83bn).

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 April, led by pharmaceuticals and medicines, with $15.48bn in shipments, compared with $14.46bn in the same month of 2012.

The other positive sector - paints, coatings and adhesives - maintained its recovery with an increase of nearly 4% in shipment values, totalling $3.00bn in April, compared with $2.89bn in the same month a year earlier.

Besides petrochemicals, the other sector in negative territory - pesticides and fertilizers - fell for the 13th month in a row.

The US drought plus global production issues have brought double-digit percentage declines year on year beginning in April 2012. Pesticides and fertilizer shipment values fell to $2.57bn, a 24% drop compared with $3.36bn in April 2012.

By: Lane Kelley
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