U.S. Specialty Chemicals Markets Show Slight But Sustainable Growth

Sep 25th, 2017

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) informs that the U.S. specialty chemicals market entered the third quarter on a solid note. Specialty chemicals market volumes started to grow in May and showed 0, 6% gain in June and 0.4% in July. ACC analyzed the activity of 28 specialty chemical markets and presented the data on the basis of three-month moving average (3MMA).

The monitoring shows that in July twelve segments expanded, fourteen markets declined and two remained stable. In the midsummer, the market volume in oilfield chemicals, cosmetic chemicals, plasticizers and plastic additives grew by 1% and over. The overall index was 5% on a year-over-3MMA basis.  During the second quarter, more than 3.4 million metric tonnes of speciality chemicals were produced for which the markets gained 7.5 billion pounds.

A year-earlier downturn in oil and gas industry together with the decline in other segments affected the production volumes. In 2017 due to the recovery in the oil and gas sector, the overall industry volumes are strong. Throughout the past two quarters, 19 markets have been showing stable gains.

Multiple American industries are dependent on the use of speciality chemicals, the materials with unique performance properties, functions and applications.  Aerospace, agriculture, motor-car, cosmetics and food are key end-users of specialty chemicals which can be both mono- and poly-molecular. Mixtures of molecules are called formulations. The chemical and physical characteristics of monomolecular chemicals or their formulations together with the formula or composition of the mixture affect the performance properties of the end product.

Specialty chemicals should not be confused with commodity chemicals. These are different products. Specialty chemicals may be applied only once or twice while commodities are chemicals used differently and numerous times. Specialty chemicals make commerce more diverse at each point of time and their market growth rates are higher valued compared to commodity chemicals.

On a 3MMA basis, the manufacturing activity rose up by 0.3% in June and declined by 0.1% in July.  The output expansion was registered at air-space, petroleum-refining, wood and plastic facilities. All the U.S. chemical production regions have shown stable growth.  It is cheering news for the U.S. economy on the whole as over 95% of all manufactured products in the country involve chemical touch.