US January chemical shipment values nudge higher

06 March 2018 22:00 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US January chemical shipment values increased slightly over the same month last year, according to data released on Tuesday by the US Department of Commerce.

The value of US-made chemical shipments totaled $68.06bn in January, not much more than $67.94bn during the same month of 2017.

In the broader economy, January shipment values for all US manufacturing industries rose 4.2%.

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

Three of the four sectors increased in January, with the biggest gain in paints and coatings, up by almost 23%, marking the seventh out of the past eight Januarys in which that sector has showed a positive gain.

The largest sector, petrochemicals, rose by 5.6% from January 2017, reflecting an increase in oil prices, which were in the low $50s/bbl range in January a year ago and in the low $60s/bbl in the first month this year.

Pharmaceuticals increased by a little more than 8%, up in four out of the past five Januarys.

Pesticides and fertilizer values fell by about 3% from the same month last year. Values for that sector have increased in three of the past five Januarys.

Chemicals ranked third among the largest US non-durable goods industries in January, behind transportation equipment at $81.47bn. Food products ranked second at $68.78bn.

By Lane Kelley