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Comment Business & Economics

U.S. specialty chemical markets start Q3 on soft note, ACC says

By Scott Jenkins |

The American Chemistry Council (ACC; Washington, D.C.; www.americanchemistry.com) reported that reflecting soft manufacturing production, U.S. specialty chemicals market volumes eased 0.1 percent in July, after a 0.2 percent gain in June, small gains in April and May and a generally weak first quarter. All changes in the data are reported on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. Of the 28 specialty chemical segments ACC monitors, 11 expanded in July, 16 markets declined and one was flat. During July, no large market volume gains (1.0 percent and over) occurred among segments. On a sequential basis, diffusion was 41 percent, up from 39 percent in June.

During July, the overall specialty chemicals volume index was up 1.4 percent on a year-over-year (Y/Y) 3MMA basis, ACC says. Year earlier comparisons have been easing since the third quarter of 2018. In June, the index stood at 113.9 percent of its average 2012 levels. This is equivalent to 7.76 billion pounds (3.52 million metric tons). On a Y/Y basis, there were gains in 15 market and functional specialty chemical segments. Compared with last year, volumes were down in 13 segment. On a year-earlier basis, diffusion was 54 percent.

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.

This data set from ACC is the only timely source of market trends for 28 market and functional specialty chemical segments. Chemistry directly touches over 96 percent of all manufactured goods, and trends in these specialty chemical segments provide a detailed view of trends in manufacturing. The data also sheds light on how various consumer end-use markets are performing compared with others in the marketplace.

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