The Specialty Chemicals Market Volume Index, a tool created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), ends the first quarter of 2016 on a soft note, slipping 0.1% on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis in March after a revised 0.1% drop in February. Weakness in oilfield chemicals and mining chemicals, among other segments, weighed on overall volumes, according to the ACC. Of the 28 specialty chemical segments included in the index, 12 expanded in March, two were flat and 14 declined. The adhesives and sealants and construction chemicals segments experienced the largest gains in March (1% and over) in underlying market volumes.
The overall specialty chemicals volume index was off 2.1% year-over-year (Y/Y) also on a 3MMA basis, according to the ACC. 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. The ACC reports that the strong U.S. dollar also adversely affected a number of export-oriented customer industries. Still, on a Y/Y basis, gains are fairly widespread among most market and functional specialty chemical segments. With few exceptions, however, year-earlier comparisons have been moderating
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