Specialty chemicals fallen on hard times: With a significant lower year-on-year production volume, US specialty chemicals figures continue their descent. Especially the dwindling demand for oilfield and mining chemicals impacts the industry…
Washington DC/USA – With a 1.8 percent year-over-year slide, US specialty chemicals continue their choppy trend of early 2016. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) marked a 0.3 percent decline on a three-month moving average in their Specialty Chemicals Market Volume Index. Especially the weak demand for oilfield chemicals and mining chemicals has weighed on overall volumes.
But there are exceptions: Especially plastic additives and plasticizers could experience large gains of over 1.0 percent in underlying market volumes.
Downward Trend Started in 2015
This development continues a trend started in early 2015, when the downturn in the oil and gas sectors affected headline volumes. In addition, the strong U.S. dollar makes chemical exports from the US less attractive for international buyers.
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 fairly widespread among most market and functional specialty chemical segments.
What's so Special about Specialties?
Specialty chemicals are materials manufactured on the basis of the unique performance or function and provide a wide variety of effects on which many other sectors and end-use products rely. They can be individual molecules or mixtures of molecules, known as formulations.
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