The American Chemistry Council
(ACC) reported that US specialty chemicals market volumes rose 0.3 percent in December. This follows an upwardly revised 0.5 percent gain in November. Volumes have generally been moving up since May. All changes in the data are reported on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. Of the 28 specialty chemical segments we monitor, seventeen expanded in December, ten markets experienced decline and one was flat. During December, large gains (1.0 percent and over) were noted only in oilfield chemicals.
The overall specialty chemicals volume index was stable on a year-over-year (Y/Y) 3MMA basis. The index stood at 105.4 percent of its average 2012 levels. This is equivalent to 7.27 billion pounds (3.30 million metric tons). The downturn in the oil and gas sector affected headline volumes and weakness spread to other segments. Year-earlier comparisons were negative since second quarter 2015 but are now stable. On a Y/Y basis, there were gains among nineteen market and functional specialty chemical segments.