Industrial chemical industry performance snapshot for year end 2017

  • Shipments of industrial chemicals were up 4% in 2017 compared to 2016. The overall gain was driven by strong performance in petrochemicals and other organic chemicals. Inorganic chemicals grew at the industry average. Synthetic resins were the only subsector that showed a decline.
  • Exports for industrial chemicals were the same in 2017 as in 2016. Petrochemicals showed a big jump while other organic chemicals were also up for the year. Inorganic chemicals and synthetic resins were both down.
  •  Industrial chemical GDP was relatively flat in the 4th quarter, rising by just 0.3%.
  • The quarter-over-quarter change in rail car shipments was down 5% in the 4th quarter. For the year, average monthly rail car shipments were down 0.6% compared to 2016.
  • Operating profits were $930 million for the quarter, up $54 million from the previous quarter. Profits were $3.5 billion for the year, up 5% compared to 2016.