MOSCOW (MRC) -- The U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) rose 0.8% in January following a 1.4% gain in December and a 1.1% gain in November, said the American Chemistry Council (ACC).
During January, chemical output expanded in nearly all regions. The Gulf Coast region showed the largest gain, with smaller gains seen in the Midwest, Southeast, Ohio Valley, and Northeast regions. Output was flat in the Mid-Atlantic region and edged lower in the West Coast. The U.S. CPRI is measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis.
Chemical production continued to expand in chlor-alkali, fertilizers, organic chemicals, synthetic rubber, plastic resins, manufactured fibers, industrial gases, and synthetic dyes and pigments, measured on a 3MMA basis. Production eased for coatings, adhesives, crop protection, consumer products, and other specialty chemicals.
As nearly all manufactured goods are produced using chemistry in some form, manufacturing activity is an important indicator for chemical demand. The manufacturing recovery continued for a sixth consecutive month in January, with overall factory activity up by 1.0% (3MMA). The trend in production increased in many key chemistry end-use industries, with the strongest gains seen in food and beverages, appliances, motor vehicles, aerospace, construction supplies, fabricated metal products, iron and steel products, petroleum refining, oil and gas extraction, plastic products, structural panels, textile products, and furniture.
Compared with January 2020, U.S. chemical production remained off by 0.6% on a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the twentieth straight month of Y/Y declines, but showed continued improvement compared with earlier in the year. Chemical production remained lower than a year ago in all regions except in the Gulf Coast region, which was up 2.5% Y/Y.
As MRC informed earlier, sales of high density polyethylene (LDPE) in the United States and Canada rose 3.8% in January 2021 compared to the same month a year earlier. While the production of LDPE grew by 5.2% over the same period of time. Total sales increased by 2.3%, despite a 0.7% decline in export sales.
At the same time, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) sales in the United States and Canada were up 5% in January 2021 from the same month in the prior year. HDPE production increased by 1% over the same period. Domestic demand for HDPE has strengthened in recent months as demand for consumer durables has been strong since the second half of 2020 amid continued growth in manufacturing activity in the United States.
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 241,030 tonnes in January 2021 versus 217,890 tonnes a year earlier. Only shipments of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 141,870 tonnes in January 2021 versus 123,520 tonnes a year earlier. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.