Production, sales and captive use of plastics in the U.S. slipped during June on a year-over-year basis, and while overall first-half figures for 2011 are up slightly, bigger gains and market momentum seen in March and April seem to have faded. According to statistics released by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), U.S. production of major plastic resins totaled 6.2 billion lb during June 2011, a decrease of 0.3% compared to the same month in 2010. Year-to-date production of polyethylene (low-, high-, and linear low-density), polypropylene, polystyrene, and polyvinyl chloride rose to 37.7 billion lb, up 0.9% compared to the same period in 2010 (see chart, bottom).
Sales and captive or internal use of those resins totaled 6.1 billion lb during June 2011, down 5.8% from the same month one year earlier. Year-to-date sales and captive use, however, was up 1.4% to 37.2 billion lb.
In May, production totaled 6.3 billion lb, off 1.5% compared to the same month in 2010, while year-to-date production was 31.5 billion lb, up 1% compared to 2010. For that month, sales and captive use totaled 5.9 billion lb, down 2.6% from the same month one year earlier. Year-to-date sales and captive use through May stood at 31.1 billion lb, up 2.8% compared to 2010.
In April, production jumped 3.5%, reaching 6.4 billion lb, with resin manufacture through the first four months of 2011, at 25.2 billion lb, up 1.8%. Sales and captive use, meanwhile, totaled 6.3 billion lb, up 7.4% from the same month one year earlier.
The ACC's U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) for the first half of the year, which was released on July 22, with June's number off 0.3%, following a 0.2% gain in May. The ACC noted that chemical production had slipped or remained stable in all regions except the Northeast.
Compared to June 2010, total chemical production in all regions was up 2.9%, according to the ACC, with year-over-year increases in all regions. That said, the ACC noted that chemical output remained below its prerecession peak as the domestic manufacturing sector has "pulled back."