4 May 2016
US chemical shipment values in March rose for the 12th straight month year on year, according to data from the US Department of Commerce.
The value of US-made chemical shipments rose 6% in March to $64.09bn compared with the same month in 2015.
Source: US Department of Commerce
March shipment values for all US manufacturing industries fell about 4%, marking the 16th straight monthly decline.
The US Census Bureau separates chemical shipments into four sectors: pesticides and fertilizers; pharmaceuticals; petrochemicals; and chemicals used in paints, coatings and adhesives.
Three of the four sectors showed double-digit percentage gains in March, with the most dramatic increase once again for pesticides and fertilizer values, which jumped 79%, reflecting the continued turnaround in the US agricultural sector that followed a few years of drought and increased US corn production. Shipment values for that sector have soared by 60-85% in each of the past 12 months.
Petrochemicals declined 4% from March 2015, reflecting the decline in oil prices that brought a drop in derivative values last year.
Chemicals once again ranked as the third largest non-durable goods industry in the US in March, behind transportation equipment at $77.37bn and food products at $65.45bn.
The value of petroleum and coal products, usually ahead or even with chemical values but lower now because of plunging crude prices in late 2014 and throughout 2015, totaled $37.13bn in February.
Pharmaceutical and medicine values rose 15% in March and paints, coatings and adhesives rose almost 16% year on year.