American Chemistry Council: Global chemicals output falls sharply in January

Published: 8 March 2020 - 6 a.m.
By: Martin Menachery
Led by a large decline in China due to the effects of the Covid-19 coronavirus, the American Chemistry Council (ACC)’s Global Chemical Production Regional Index (Global CPRI) shows that global chemicals production fell by one percent in January, a reversal of gains in November and December. During January, chemical production increased in Latin America, the Former Soviet Union (FSU), and Africa and the Middle East. Production fell in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Headline global production was up only 0.9% year-over-year (Y/Y) on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis and stood at 117.6% of its average 2012 levels.

During January, global capacity rose by 0.3 percent and was up 3.4 percent Y/Y. As a result, capacity utilization in the global chemical industry fell 1.1 points to 81.3 percent. This is down from 83.2 percent last January and below the long-term (1987-2017) average of 86.5 percent.

Among chemical industry segments, January results were mixed, with bulk petrochemicals and organics, plastic resins, synthetic rubber, and manufactured fibres showing gains. Production was soft in other segments. Considering year-earlier comparisons, growth was strongest in manufactured fibers, followed by synthetic rubber, plastic resins, coatings, and bulk petrochemicals and organics.

ACC’s Global CPRI measures the production volume of the chemical industry for 33 key nations, sub-regions, and regions, all aggregated to the world total. The index is comparable to the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) production indices and features a similar base year where 2012=100. This index is developed from government industrial production indices for chemicals from over 65 nations accounting for about 98 percent of the total global chemical industry. This data set is the only timely source of market trends for the global chemical industry and is comparable to the U.S. CPRI data, a timely source of U.S. regional chemical production.

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