Last updateThu, 23 May 2019 6pm


Global Chemicals Output Remains at Slow Pace

Data collected and tabulated by the American Chemistry Council show that global chemicals production continues the year on a slow note, rising 0.1% in February. This follows a 0.2% gain in both January and December. During February, chemical production gained in Europe and Africa and the Middle East. Activity was flat in Latin America and Asia-Pacific and fell elsewhere. With softness earlier last year, the Global CPRI was up 1.7% year-over-year on a three-month moving average basis and stood at 116.6% of its average 2012 levels. During February, capacity utilization in the global chemical industry slipped 0.2 points to 83.1%. This is down from 84.8% last February and below the long-term (1987-2017) average of 86.4%.

Refinery Runs Hit Fifth Straight Annual Record High

Gross inputs to U.S. petroleum refineries, also referred to as refinery runs, averaged 17.3 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2018, the highest annual average on record and the fifth consecutive year of record-high refinery runs. Refinery runs peaked in June at an average of 18.0 million b/d, with average weekly runs exceeding 18.0 million b/d during six weeks in 2018. The record-high U.S. gross refinery input levels are driven in large part by refinery operations in the Gulf Coast and Midwest regions.

U.S. LNG in High Demand

“U.S. gas companies at the LNG2019 conference in Shanghai this week have announced deals to sell a combined 4.5 million tons of LNG a year from proposed multi-billion-dollar projects,” Bloomberg reports. “Nearly all of that was sold without a link to the U.S. Henry Hub benchmark, the most- widely traded gas price in the world.”

Texas Oil Production Dropped in January

According to data from the Energy Information Administration, Texas “saw oil production slip in January for the first time in a year, as pipeline bottlenecks in the Lone Star state prompted drillers to cut back,” Bloomberg reports.

“Explorers curbed drilling in January, after crude prices collapsed at the end of 2018 and amid investor calls to reduce spending. A dearth of pipeline capacity from the Permian basin of West Texas to the Gulf of Mexico has also hemmed in production.”

Chemical Activity Barometer Up Slightly in March

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), an economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council, rose 0.1% in March on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis, the first gain in five months. On a year-over-year basis, the barometer is down 0.3% (3MMA).

The unadjusted measure of the CAB rose 0.3% in March following six months of shrinking activity. It declined 0.1% in February and had a flat reading in January. The diffusion index rebounded to 65% in March, up from 57% in February. A year earlier, it was 71%. The diffusion index marks the number of positive contributors relative to the total number of indicators monitored.

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