The Specialty Chemicals Market Volume Index, a new tool created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), began the 3rd quarter on a stable note. This follows steady monthly declines since December as weakness in oilfield chemicals and a few other segments weighed on overall volumes. Of the 28 specialty chemical segments included in the index, 16 expanded in July, nine declined and three were flat.
The overall specialty chemicals volume index was off 0.1% year-over-year (Y/Y) on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. Year-earlier comparisons were generally in the 4% to 6.8% range during 2012-2014, but ongoing weakness in the oil and gas sectors continue to affect headline volumes. Still, on a Y/Y basis, gains are fairly widespread among most market and functional specialty chemical segments. Compared to last year, July volumes were up in 21 segments and down in seven segments, though year-earlier comparisons have been moderating.
This data is the only timely source of market trends for 28 market and functional specialty chemical segments, according to ACC. Chemistry directly touches over 96% of all manufactured goods, and trends in these specialty chemical segments provide a detailed view of trends in manufacturing. The data also sheds light on how various consumer end-use markets are performing compared to others in the marketplace.
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