The American Chemistry Council (ACC) reports that U.S. specialty chemicals market volumes rose 0.3% in August. This follows a 0.4% gain in July and a 0.3% decline in June. All changes in the data are reported on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. Of the 28 specialty chemical segments ACC monitors, 17 reportedly expanded in August with the largest gains (1.0% and over) in adhesives and sealants, lubricant additives and mining chemicals.
The overall specialty chemicals volume index was off 0.8% year-over-year (Y/Y) on a 3MMA basis, according to ACC. The index stood at 105.0% of its average 2012 levels. This is equivalent to 7.24 billion pounds (3.28 million metric tons). During 2014, Y/Y comparisons were generally in the 4.0% to 6.8% range but since February 2015, they have fallen well below that range as the downturn in the oil and gas sector has affected headline volumes. Weakness spread to other segments as well, according to ACC, and year-earlier comparisons have been negative since second quarter 2015. Lately, the year-earlier declines have been moderating. On a Y/Y basis, there were reportedly gains among market and functional specialty chemical segments.
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