Global chemicals output picks up in May, after two-month decline

Global chemicals output picks up in May, after two-month decline

After two months of declines, global chemicals production gained 0.4% in May, data collected and tabulated by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) show. During May, chemical output increased in North America, Europe, and Africa and the Middle East and was weak in other regions. 

Headline global production was up 18.8% year-over-year (Y/Y) on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. Output was off a year ago due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In May, global production stood at 131.3% of its average 2012 levels.

Among chemical industry segments, May results were mostly positive, with weakness limited to consumer products, plastic resins, and coatings. Compared with a year ago, production gains occurred in all segments.

During May, global capacity rose 0.2% and was up 2.3% Y/Y. With rising output, capacity utilization in the global chemical industry was up 0.1 points, to 87.9%. This is well above 75.7% last May and above the long-term (1987-2019) average of 86.4%.

ACC’s Global Chemical Production Regional Index (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 base year where 2012=100. This index is developed from government industrial production indices for chemicals from more than 65 nations accounting for about 98% 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.