According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the US Chemical Production Regional Index (US CPRI) rose by 0.3% in April, following a 0.3% decline in March and a 0.2% decline in February. During April, chemical output was higher across all regions.
Chemical production was mixed over the three-month period. There were gains in the production three-month moving average (3MMA) output trend in organic chemicals, plastic resins, adhesives, coatings, other speciality chemicals, industrial gases, synthetic dyes and pigments, crop protection chemicals, and consumer products. These gains were offset by declines in the output of synthetic rubber, fertilizers, manufactured fibres, and other inorganic chemicals.
Nearly all manufactured goods are produced using chemistry in some form. Thus, manufacturing activity is an important indicator for chemical production. On a 3MMA basis, manufacturing activity edged lower for a third straight month, by 0.3% in April. Output expanded in several chemistry-intensive manufacturing industries, including aerospace, semiconductors, oil and gas extraction, rubber products and tires.
Compared with April 2018, US chemical production was up by 2.8% on a year-over-year basis, a weaker comparison than in March. Chemical production was higher than a year ago in all regions, with the largest gains in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and West Coast regions.
The chemistry industry is one of the largest industries in the US, a US$526 billion enterprise. The manufacturing sector is the largest consumer of chemical products, and 96% of manufactured goods are touched by chemistry. CPRI was developed to track chemical production activity in seven regions of the United States. 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, CPRI is measured using 3MMA. Thus, the reading in April reflects production activity during February, March, and April.
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