The American Chemistry Council’s Global Chemical Production Regional Index (Global CPRI) shows that the second quarter started on a soft note, with the headline index falling 0.2% on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis in April. This follows a 0.1% decline in March, and a fairly strong fourth quarter. During April, chemical production increased in Central and Eastern Europe and Africa and the Middle East, while activity was flat in North America. Activity fell in Latin America, Western Europe, and Asia-Pacific. The Global CPRI was up 1.9% year-over-year on a 3MMA basis and stood at 108% of its average 2012 levels in April.

During April, capacity usage in the global business of chemistry declined 0.5 percentage points to 79.4%. This is off from 81% last April and is below the long-term average of 89.1% (1987-2015).

All segments of the business of chemistry reportedly improved from the trough of the recession with the most pronounced recovery having occurred in the cyclical segments. During April, results were mixed, with weakness in the production of pharmaceuticals, consumer products, plastic resins, and manufactured fibers. Considering year-over-year comparisons, chemical production increased in most categories. Growth was strongest in plastic resins, followed by organic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, other specialty chemicals, and consumer products.

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