US December chem shipments rise 3% year on year, petchems slip

04 February 2014 18:10  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The value of US-made chemical shipments in December posted another small year on year increase while the petrochemicals sector declined by less than 1%, according to data released on Tuesday by the US Department of Commerce.

The value of US land and water chemical shipments totalled $64.46bn in December, up by 2.8% compared with $62.71bn a year earlier.

For the full year of 2013, US chemical shipments gained 1.6% in value to $760.79bn, compared to $749.12bn for 2012.

The largest chemical sector tracked by the census – petrochemicals – ended a string of eight straight months of year on year gains with a slight decline in shipment values to $42.97bn, versus $43.01bn in December 2012.

However, petrochemical shipment values still finished 2013 with a 2% gain, at $510.13bn compared with $499.65bn the previous year.

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 1.6% to $492.70bn, compared with $484.85bn in December 2012, the data showed. This includes fabricated metal and wood products, furniture, all machinery including computers, transportation and electrical equipment.

For all of 2013, the value of total manufacturing shipments increased 2.4%.

Chemicals ranked as the third largest non-durable goods industry in the US in December, behind petroleum and coal products ($73.77bn) and transportation equipment ($68.48bn).

The US Census Bureau separates chemical shipments into four sectors: pesticides and fertilizers; pharmaceuticals; petrochemicals; and chemicals used in paints, coatings and adhesives. Three sectors showed increases in December.

Pharmaceuticals and medicines showed the biggest gain, up by 19% to $15.88bn, compared with $13.33bn a year earlier.

Paints, coatings and adhesives continued to rise, up by 7% to $3.11bn in shipments compared with $2.90bn in December 2012.

The value of pesticides and fertilizer shipments continued to fall, dropping the most of any chemical sector. Shipments declined to $2.49bn, a drop of 28% compared with $3.47bn in December 2012.

By: Lane Kelley
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