Lubricant additive sales volumes in the United States rebounded in May after retreating the previous month, according to statistics released recently by the American Chemistry Council. The decline in April was part of a two-month setback for the broader specialty chemical sector stemming from severe winter weather.
Volumes for lube additives increased 0.6% in May compared to April, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Washington, D.C.-based trade group said in a June 21 news release. That followed a 0.4% contraction from March to April.
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Total specialty chemical volumes rose 0.7% in May after falling each of the previous two months, including a 1.1% drop in April. The council attributed the two-month retreat to severe winter weather, including an unusual winter vortex that triggered widespread power outages and business closures in Texas during February.
Except for that disruption, both specialty chemicals and lubricant additives have bounced back significantly from last year’s impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Lube additive volumes for the first five months of this year ran 3.6% ahead of the same period for 2020, and May’s volumes were 18.2% higher than the same month of last year, roughly when the pandemic had its greatest impact on the U.S. economy.
Specialty chemical volumes from January through May ran just 0.6% ahead of last year, while May’s performance was 13.7% better than the same month of 2020.
The council projects that demand for commodity and specialty chemicals will continue to rise this year as economies recover from the impacts of the pandemic.