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February 1, 2013

U.S. specialty chemicals market volume expanded in December, ACC says

Scott Jenkins

The market volume for specialty chemicals in the U.S. rose by 0.7% in December 2012, according to the American Chemistry Council (Washington, D.C.; The December expansion follows a 0.5% gain in November and offsets some softness experienced in this area from August through October, ACC noted.
The data indicate that 22 of the 28 specialty-chemical market segments monitored by ACC experienced expansion in December, while the rest were either flat or in decline. The information was detailed in the ACC’s latest Weekly Chemistry and Economic Report.
In December, the market segments experiencing the largest gains (1.0% and greater) were: adhesives; flavors and fragrances; foundry chemicals; industrial and institutional cleaners; paint additives; pigments; and printing ink. Nominal gains were observed in catalysts, coatings, corrosion inhibitors, lubricants, biocides and others, according to the ACC data. The overall specialty chemical volume index in the U.S. was up 2.2% year-over-year, on a three-month-moving-average basis.
In other recent economic news, the S&P index for chemical companies rose by 4.7% in January, compared to 5.0% for the S&P 500 index.
Assessing the week’s economic reports, ACC said the data were mixed, with construction spending improving and several manufacturing measures growing, but only tepid growth in jobs and a drop in consumer confidence for January. A report on the U.S. growth domestic product (GDP) was negative, ACC explained, but the weakness centered on defense spending, inventories and trade. The GDP report showed that “private-sector gains were actually quite good,” ACC said, and although some negative forces are present, the “consensus seems to be that the U.S. economy continues on a 2%-growth track.”
Globally, ACC noted, “there were some promising manufacturing reports in the emerging markets,” and in Europe, “the sector appears to be stabilizing.”

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