There has been a slight uptick in base oil orders, although demand was still lagging compared to the same month in previous years. Economic uncertainties and ample inventories continued to muffle lubricant consumption, and this, in turn, resulted in subdued base stock requirements. However, base oil suppliers remained optimistic that consumers would soon have to replenish stocks and the recent posted price decreases would offer additional incentives for them to venture back into the market and increase order volumes. Consumers, on the other hand, appeared comfortable securing just enough product to run daily operations, and kept an eye on slipping crude oil values.
Base oil suppliers had hoped that lowering posted prices would spur more demand at a time when requirements should have flourished. They implemented posted base oil price decreases of 15 cents per gallon to 40 cents/gal, depending on the grade and the supplier, between March 28 and April 25. However, there were still few signs that demand had started to take off in earnest, particularly in the automotive segment, despite the approach of the summer driving season.