US basic chemical and synthetic materials output rises 0.8% in May

Stefan Baumgarten

23-Jun-2022

HOUSTON (ICIS)–US basic chemical and synthetic materials production rose 0.8% month on month in May to 37.25m tonnes.

May’s increase, following a 1.9% decline in April and a 4.4% gain in March, reflects typical seasonal factors, said ICIS senior economist Kevin Swift who compiled and analysed the data.

Full recovery has not been reached in many segments and capacity utilisation remains low as additional capacity comes on-stream, Swift said.

Year on year, overall production volumes were off 3.3% from May 2021.

In terms of major segments, Swift made the following points about May production:

  • Inorganic chemicals rose as chlor-alkali production further recovers. Pigments and other inorganic chemicals output grew strongly.
  • The output of bulk petrochemicals fell back again.
  • Production of downstream organic chemicals improved.
  • Plastics resin production featured a solid gain as did synthetic rubber.
  • Downstream plastics processing output eased again, but downstream tyres and rubber products output expanded at a good pace for a second month.
  • Output in the textiles complex was stable, but manufactured fibres output gained during the month.

“Since the COVID-19 recession, the recovery has largely been V-shaped, with some interruptions, largely due to weather events,” the economist said.

Inventories have gained in recent months.

“Many risks abound. Most notable are demand destruction, energy, and geo-political risks as well as the potential for policy mistakes,” he said

PRODUCTION

(Thousands of Metric Tonnes)

Feb Mar Apr May
Total Basic Chemicals & Synthetic Materials 36,108 37,694 36,962 37,254
Inorganic Chemicals 8,228 8,709 8,709 9,027
   Chlorine & Other Alkalies 2,601 2981 2736 2956
   Pigments 115 116 120 123
   Other Inorganic Chemicals 5,512 5,612 5,853 5,948
Petrochemicals & Organic Chemicals 23,412 24,095 23,500 23,313
   Bulk Petrochemicals 5,117 5,781 5,552 5,653
   Other Organic Chemicals 18,295 18,314 17,948 17,660
Plastic Resins 3,838 4,231 4,086 4,225
Synthetic Rubber 336 364 355 366
Manufactured Fibres 294 294 312 323
 
CAPACITY

(Thousands of Metric Tonnes)

Total Basic Chemicals & Synthetic Materials 53,592 53,619 53,649 53,680
Capacity Utilisation (%) 67.0% 69.7% 68.9% 68.9%

(Source: Kevin Swift)

PRODUCTION

(% Change)

M/M

Apr

M/M

May

Y/Y

May

YTD

May

Total Basic Chemicals & Synthetic Materials -1.9 0.8 -3.3 7.1
Inorganic Chemicals 0.0 3.7 9.2 4.1
Petrochemicals & Organic Chemicals -2.5 -0.8 -8.7 7.9
Plastic Resins -3.4 3.4 2.1 8.4
Synthetic Rubber -2.5 3.1 18.4 16.1
Manufactured Fibres 5.8 3.5 16.2 8.3
 
CAPACITY

(% Change)

Total Basic Chemicals & Synthetic Materials 0.1 0.1 0.5 0.5

(Source: Kevin Swift)

READ MORE

ICIS Premium news service

The subscription platform provides access to our full range of breaking news and analysis

Contact us now to find out more

Speak with ICIS

Now, more than ever, dynamic insights are key to navigating complex, volatile commodity markets. Access to expert insights on the latest industry developments and tracking market changes are vital in making sustainable business decisions.

Want to learn about how we can work together to bring you actionable insight and support your business decisions?

Need Help?

Need Help?