US chemical exports drops 1.6% to $13.5 billion in January
Chemical

US chemical exports drops 1.6% to $13.5 billion in January

Chemical imports were strong with an 8 gain in January.

  • By ICN Bureau | March 12, 2023

U.S. chemical exports fell 1.6% to $13.5 billion in January, a level down 0.6% Y/Y, according to American Chemistry Council (ACC).

Exports of inorganics, agricultural chemicals, consumer products and specialties chemicals were down in January. Exports of petrochemicals rose with a strong gain in plastic resins exports. Chemical imports were strong with an 8 gain in January. Imports were up in every chemicals category with the exception of coatings. With imports growing faster than exports, the trade surplus in chemicals contracted by $1.1 billion to $1.0 billion in the month.

According to data from ACC, U.S. production of major plastic resins totaled 8.1 billion pounds in January, a level up 18.8% compared to December (when some production was disrupted from winter storm Elliott) but flat Y/Y. Sales and captive (internal) use of major plastic resins rose 3.8% to 7.7 billion pounds in January, a level up 5.2% Y/Y.

Chemical industry employment (including pharmaceuticals) rebounded in February, up by 2,500 (0.3%) with gains in both production/non-supervisory and supervisory/non-production jobs.

Compared to a year ago, chemical industry employment was higher by 26,900 (3.0%). Average hourly wages for production workers were up 5.6% Y/Y, a slower pace than January’s 7.0% pace of wage gains. The average workweek for chemical industry workers remained stable in February at 41.6 hours and the total labor input into the chemical industry rose slightly February.

After factoring in productivity trends, this suggests that chemical output was stable-to-slightly higher which was in contrast with last week’s ISM report that suggested chemical industry output contracted.

 


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