The American Chemistry Council (ACC) reports that after a strong start to the second quarter, growth in U.S. specialty chemicals market volumes eased to a 0.3% gain in May, about half the pace of the first quarter. Volumes are generally moving up since last May, according to ACC. All changes in the data are reported on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. Of the 28 specialty chemical segments ACC monitors, 12 expanded in May, 14 experienced decline, while two were stable. During May, large market volume gains (1.0% and over) occurred in cosmetic chemicals and oilfield chemicals.
The overall specialty chemicals volume index was up 4.1% on a year-over-year (Y/Y) 3MMA basis. The index stood at 109.2% of its average 2012 levels. This is equivalent to 7.52 billion pounds (3.341 million metric tons). The downturn in the oil and gas sector affected headline volumes and along with weakness in other segments resulted in negative year-earlier comparisons from 2nd quarter 2015 through 2nd quarter 2016. Led by the recovery in the oil and gas sector, headline volumes are now positive and strong, according to ACC. On a Y/Y basis, there were gains among 18 market and functional specialty chemical segments.
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