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U.S. and global chemical production finished the year on upswing, ACC says

| By Scott Jenkins

According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC; Washington, D.C.;, the Global Chemical Production Regional Index (Global CPRI) trended higher by 0.1% in December, following a revised 0.5% gain in November. In the U.S., the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) rose 0.4% in December, following a 0.3% decline in November, ACC said. Both indices are measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis to reduce month-to-month volatility.

“The gain in December was led by North America and Asia-Pacific,” said Martha Moore, ACC’s chief economist. “Even though global production was higher on a year-over-year basis, Europe continued to see weakness as production remained below last year’s level.”

“In the U.S., chemical output rose in all regions except the Gulf Coast. There were signs of recovery in the output volumes of agricultural and coatings and other specialty chemicals that offset ongoing weakness in basic industrial chemicals and synthetic materials,” Moore stated.

Key findings from the ACC include the following:

  • The gain in the Global CPRI during December was led by higher chemical output in China despite the country’s ongoing real estate woes and deflationary pressures. That said, economic activity often slows in January and February as China celebrates the Lunar New Year.
  • Global output increased in all segments, with basic chemicals and specialty materials showing the highest gain.
  • According to U.S CPRI, chemical output in the U.S. was higher for the first time in four months with gains across all regions, except the Gulf Coast.
  • The decline in the Gulf Coast reflected ongoing weakness in demand for basic industrial chemicals and synthetic materials, a large share of which are produced in that region.
  • Compared to last December (when a late-month freeze event disrupted production), U.S. chemical production was 2.6% higher.