The Specialty Chemicals Market Volume Index, a new tool created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), began the third quarter on a stable note. This follows steady monthly declines since December as weakness in oilfield chemicals and a few other segments weighed on overall volumes. Of the 28 specialty chemical segments included in the index, 16 expanded in July compared to the previous month, nine declined and three were flat.
On a year-by-year basis, gains are fairly widespread among most market and functional specialty chemical segments. Compared to last year, July volumes were up in 21 segments and down in seven segments, though year-earlier comparisons have been moderating. The lubricant additives’ index rose 3.9% in July compared to the same period a year ago, as oilfield chemicals declined the most of the 28 specialty chemical segments, dropping by 17%.
Specialty chemicals are materials manufactured on the basis of their 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.
Specialty chemicals differ from commodity chemicals. They may only have one or two uses, while commodities may have multiple or different applications for each chemical. Commodity chemicals make up most of the production volume in the global marketplace, while specialty chemicals make up most of the diversity in commerce at any given time, and are relatively high value with greater market growth rates.
This data is the only timely source of market trends for 28 market and functional specialty chemical segments.