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ACC: March chemical production increases at home and abroad

May 11, 2023
U.S. chemical production up 2.6%, while global chemical production climbs by 0.7% after a slight decrease in February

Chemical production increased in March both globally and in the U.S., according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC). The Global Chemical Production Regional Index (Global CPRI) rose by 0.7% following a 0.2% increase in February, and the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) rose 2.6% in March.

Both indices are measured on a three-month moving average basis to reduce month-to-month volatility.

“During March, chemical output increased in all regions except Africa and Middle East,” Martha Moore, ACC’s chief economist, said in a news release. “Despite these gains, chemical output continued to be lower than last year’s global production numbers.”

In the U.S., the 2.6% gain in March reflects a bump in chemical production that followed a tough Q4, ACC indicated. “Producers were challenged at the end of the year by customer destocking and winter-weather related disruptions,” Moore said.

Key findings:

  • The gain in March reflects higher chemical production in several major producing countries, including the United States, China, Russia, and Germany.
  • Global output is up in all segments, with the largest gains in synthetic materials, which includes plastic resins, synthetic rubber, and manufactured fibers.
  • According to U.S CPRI, output in the U.S. rallied in March and 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.
  • In the U.S., output of plastic resins, organic chemicals, industrial gases, coatings, adhesives, crop protection chemicals, synthetic dyes & pigments, synthetic rubber, consumer products, and other specialty chemicals were higher. Gains were offset by lower production of synthetic rubber and fertilizers.

The Global CPRI measures the production volume of the chemical industry for 55 key nations, sub-regions, and regions, all aggregated to the world total. While most data are seasonally adjusted at source, some are adjusted using the U.S. Census Bureau’s X-12 model to present data comparable to the United States. In a few cases, ACC creates indices of production based on actual production data weighted according to industry structure. The index uses the total value added as a proxy for individual country weights to arrive at the total. This method accounts for the changes in each country’s share relative to global production, which is more reflective of ever-changing global production dynamics.

The Global CPRI measures production activity generally consistent with the overall industry nomenclature of NAICS 325 (less pharmaceuticals) and the EU NACE 20 industries. The index measures the production of soaps and detergents, personal care products, fertilizers, and other downstream products in addition to measuring inorganic chemicals, organic chemicals, plastic resins, synthetic fibers, synthetic rubber, adhesives and sealants, coatings, and other specialty chemicals. Production of pharmaceuticals is excluded.

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.

The U.S. CPRI includes the most recent Federal Reserve benchmark revision released on March 28. To smooth month-to-month fluctuations, the U.S. CPRI is measured using a three-month moving average. The reading in March reflects production activity during January, February, and March.

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