The American Chemistry Council (ACC) reported that U.S. specialty chemicals market volumes rose a strong 0.6% in February. This follows an upwardly revised 0.4% gain in January. Volumes have generally been moving up since May. All changes in the data are reported on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. Of the twenty-eight specialty chemical segments we monitor, eighteen expanded in February, ten experienced decline and none were flat. During February, large gains (1.0% and over) occurred in antioxidants, food additives, mining chemicals, oilfield chemicals, paint additives and rubber processing chemicals.
The overall specialty chemicals volume index was up 1.3% on a year-over-year (Y/Y) 3MMA basis. The index stood at 107.2% of its average 2012 levels. This is equivalent to 7.39 billion pounds (3.35 million metric tons). The down-turn in the oil and gas sector had affected headline volumes and weakness spread to other segments.