WASHINGTON: According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) fell sharply by 1.4 percent in September, following a 0.2 percent decline in August, and a 1.0 percent gain in July.
The steep decline in September reflected severe, but temporary, disruptions from Hurricane Harvey. During September, output declined in all regions except the West Coast which posted flat growth.

Chemical production was mixed over the same three month period. There were gains in the production three-month moving average output trend of consumer products, pharmaceuticals, coatings, other specialty chemicals, industrial gases, fertilizers, and pesticides. These gains were offset by declines in the output trend in organic chemicals, plastic resins, manufactured fibers, chlor-alkali, other organic chemicals, adhesives and synthetic rubber.

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 three-month-moving average basis, manufacturing activity edged lower by 0.1 percent in September, following a similar decline in August. Production expanded in several chemistry-intensive manufacturing industries, including food and beverages; aerospace; construction supplies; fabricated metal products; computers and electronics; semiconductors; plastic and rubber products; and structural panels.

Compared to September 2016, U.S. chemical production was ahead 1.2 percent on a year-over-year basis, a declining trend. Chemical production was ahead of year ago levels in all regions except the Gulf Coast on a Y/Y basis.

The chemistry industry is one of the largest industries in the United States, a $768 billion enterprise. The manufacturing sector is the largest consumer of chemical products, and 96 percent of manufactured goods are touched by chemistry. The U.S. CPRI was developed to track chemical production activity in seven regions of the United States. The U.S. CPRI is based on information from the Federal Reserve, and as such, includes monthly revisions as published by the Federal Reserve. To smooth month-to-month fluctuations, the U.S. CPRI is measured using a three-month moving average. Thus, the reading in September reflects production activity during July, August, and September.

(Posted on 30 October 2017, 1675362275 3O237O29O69)