U.S. Chemical Production Growth Steady in February
Production expanded in several chemistry-intensive manufacturing industries.
The U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) edged higher by 0.2% in February, following a 0.5% gain in January, and a 0.3% gain in December, as measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC). All regions posted growth in February.
Also measured on a 3MMA basis, chemical production was mixed. There were gains in the production output trend of coatings, plastic resins, other specialties, synthetic rubber, organic chemicals, adhesives, fertilizers, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. These gains were reportedly offset by declines in the output trend in inorganic chemicals, consumer products, pigments, manufactured fibers and industrial gases.
Nearly all manufactured goods are produced using chemistry in some form or another; thus, manufacturing activity is an important indicator for chemical production. On a 3MMA basis, manufacturing activity rose 0.4% in February, the largest gain since November 2014. Production expanded in several chemistry-intensive manufacturing industries, including food and beverages, motor vehicles, machinery, fabricated metal products, computers, semiconductors, petroleum refining, rubber products, plastic products, paper, and structural panels.
Compared to February 2016, U.S. chemical production was off by 0.1% on a year-over-year basis, a moderating trend. Chemical production remained ahead of year ago levels in all regions, except the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.
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