The American Chemistry Council's weekly update for the industry reveals that the US Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) rose by 0.7% in February following declines of 2.4% in December and 0.6% in January.
Chemical output was higher than a month ago in all regions, with the largest gain in the Gulf Coast, home to much of the nation’s basic industrial chemical and synthetic materials capacity.
Because the CPRI is measured as a three-month moving average (3MMA), February’s gain reflects a rebound in the most recent month that followed several declines at the end of the year due to lower manufacturing demand and disruptions from winter storm Elliott.
Compared with February 2022, US chemical production was 4.5% lower. Chemical production was lower than a year ago in all regions, with the largest declines in the Gulf Coast.
On a 3MMA basis, chemical production within segments was mixed in February. Output of plastic resins, consumer products, fertilizers, organic chemicals, and pesticides were higher. These gains were offset by lower production of coatings, adhesives, other specialty chemicals, synthetic rubber manufactured fibers, industrial gases, and synthetic dyes & pigments.
As nearly all manufactured goods are produced using chemistry in some form, manufacturing activity is an important indicator for chemical demand. Down for a fourth consecutive month, manufacturing output was lower by 0.2% in February on a 3MMA basis.
The 3MMA trend in manufacturing production was mixed, with output in most chemistry-consuming segments continuing to contract. Output continued to expand, however, in aerospace, apparel, and appliances.