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Comment Business & Economics

U.S. specialty chemicals market slowed by Hurricane Harvey, ACC says

By Scott Jenkins |

The Specialty Chemicals Market Volume Index showed a pronounced slowdown in August, reflecting the effects of Hurricane Harvey, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC; Washington, D.C.; www.americanchemistry.com). Growth in U.S. specialty chemicals market volumes expanded only 0.1 percent in August, following an upwardly revised 0.5 percent gain in July. All changes in the data are reported on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. Of the twenty-eight specialty chemical segments monitored by ACC, fifteen expanded in August, nine markets experienced decline, while four were stable. During August, large market volume gains (1.0% and over) occurred only in oilfield chemicals, ACC says.

Note that on an unadjusted basis, the August data showed a 0.8 percent decline and is illustrative of the effects that Hurricane Harvey had on markets. Only eleven segments expanded on this basis, ACC points out.

The overall specialty chemicals volume index was up 5.1 percent on a year-over-year (Y/Y) 3MMA basis. The index stood at 109.4 percent of its average 2012 levels. This is equivalent to 7.54 billion pounds (3.42 million metric tons). On a Y/Y basis, there were gains among 20 market and functional specialty chemical segments. Compared to last year, volumes were down in seven segments.

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. The physical and chemical characteristics of the single molecule or mixtures along with the composition of the mixtures influence the performance end product. Individual market sectors that rely on such products include automobile, aerospace, agriculture, cosmetics and food, among others.

 

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