The American Chemistry Council (ACC) reports that U.S. specialty chemicals market volumes started the second quarter on a strong note, rising 0.6% in April and following similar gains in March and February. Volumes have generally been moving up since last May. All changes in the data are reported on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. Of the 28 specialty chemical segments monitored, 20 expanded in April and eight experienced decline. During April, large gains (1.0% and over) occurred in catalysts, corrosion inhibitors, lubricant additives and oilfield chemicals.
The overall specialty chemicals volume index was up 3.0% on a year-over-year (Y/Y) 3MMA basis. The index stood at 107.3% of its average 2012 levels. This is equivalent to 7.39 billion pounds (3.35 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 second quarter 2015 through second quarter 2016. Led by the recovery in the oil and gas sector, headline volumes are now positive. On a Y/Y basis, there were gains among 20 market and functional specialty chemical segments.
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