Recent posted price decrease announcements appeared to have partially achieved the expected outcome, as suppliers noted that a limited number of additional orders had been placed since the decreases went into effect. Nevertheless, sellers also admitted that demand was still lagging compared to the same period in previous years, and that there had not been a significant improvement yet. Observers attributed this condition to economic uncertainties – which were dampening finished products sales – along with steep lubricant prices.
While it was still difficult to pinpoint exactly why base oil and lubricants consumption has been lackluster at a time when demand typically takes off, sources said that many consumers have adopted a cautious attitude and have postponed or cancelled trips on account of inflation and the increased cost of living. Consumers have had to postpone family outings and leisure travel because of the higher cost of fuel, meals, accommodations and airline fares, sources explained. “While [inflation and gas prices] have begun to come back down and unemployment is near historic lows, many Americans remain unsettled by economic anxiety,” The New York Times reported.