U.S. specialty chemicals market volumes expanded by 1.2% in December following an upwardly revised 0.6% gain in November, according to the American Chemistry Council. Of the 28 specialty chemical segments monitored, 23 expanded in December, up from 13 in November, while one segment was stable and four declined. On a sequential basis, diffusion was 84% in December, up from 48% in November. Of the 23 segments that expanded in December, 19 featured gains of 1.0% or more.
During December, overall specialty chemicals volumes were off 4.9% on a year-over-year basis, an improvement from November. Volumes stood at 106.9% of their average 2012 levels in December. This is equivalent to 7.28 billion pounds (3.30 million metric tons). On a year-earlier basis, six chemical segments showed gains: Cosmetic additives, dyes, electronic chemicals, flavors and fragrances, plastic compounding, and water management chemicals. On a year-earlier basis, diffusion was 18% in December. For 2020 as a whole, volumes were off 7.1%.