HOUSTON (ICIS)--US chemical shipment values in July declined for the fourth month in a row, according to data released on Wednesday by the US Department of Commerce.
The value of US-made chemicals slipped by 1.5% in July to $65.15bn compared with $66.13bn in the same month of 2016.
Chemical shipment values rose for two years straight through March of this year, but started to decline in April.
Source: US Census Bureau, US Department of Commerce
In the broader economy, July shipment values for all US manufacturing industries rose by 3.4%, marking the seventh straight monthly increase.
The US Census Bureau separates chemical shipments into four sectors: pesticides and fertilizers; pharmaceuticals; petrochemicals; and chemicals used in paints, coatings and adhesives.
Petrochemicals also declined slightly in July, down by 1.7% from the same month a year ago. Petrochemical shipment values in July have dropped in four out of the past five years.
In fact, petrochemical values have mostly dropped during the April through July period in each of those months over the past five years, with only two exceptions – June 2013 and April 2014 – when values increased.
Chemicals once again ranked as the third largest non-durable goods industry in the US in July, behind transportation equipment at $78.94bn and food products at $69.39bn.
Pesticides and fertilizer values showed the biggest drop, down by 31% reflecting the end of the application season. That sector has declined in July during three of the past five years.
Pharmaceutical and medicine values edged up by 3.2%, also following a seasonal trend of a July rise during four of the past five years.
Paints, coatings and adhesives rose by nearly 7% during July, reflecting the paint season in the US. That sector has increased every July during the past five years.