The Specialty Chemicals Market Volume Index, a tool created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) enters the second quarter of 2016 on a soft note, slipping 0.3% on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis in April. The trend has been choppy and April’s decline was preceded by revised flat activity in March and a 0.1% drop in February, according to ACC. Weakness in oilfield chemicals and mining chemicals, among other segments, weighed on overall volumes. Of the 28 specialty chemical segments ACC monitors, 11 expanded in April, three were flat and 14 declined. No segments experienced large gains (1.0% and over) in underlying market volumes.
The overall specialty chemicals volume index was off 1.8% year-over-year (Y/Y) also on a 3MMA basis. Year-earlier comparisons were generally in the 4% to 6.8% range during 2012-2014 but since February 2015 they have fallen below that range as the downturn in the oil and gas sectors affected headline volumes. In addition, the strong U.S. dollar has adversely affected a number of export-oriented customer industries, according to ACC. Weakness spread to other segments as well and year-earlier comparisons have been negative since second quarter 2015. Still, on a Y/Y basis, gains are reportedly fairly widespread among most market and functional specialty chemical segments. With few exceptions, however, year-earlier comparisons have been moderating.
For more information, visit: www.americanchemistry.com