Despite a lackluster start to the spring season, Asian base oil prices were mostly stable, supported by a balanced supply and demand ratio and signs of healthier buying interest starting to come into view in some countries such as India. Volatile crude oil and feedstock prices added an element of uncertainty, keeping some buyers on the sidelines as they waited for a clearer indication on where base oil prices were headed.
One of the markets that still captured suppliers’ attention was China’s, since the country commands an impressive share of the world’s base oil demand at around 22 percent, according to an analyst’s presentation at the recent ICIS Asia Base oils and Lubricants conference in Singapore. This means that trends in that country can make or break the region’s overall performance. During the COVID pandemic, strict lockdowns and other constraints, and late last year, surging infection rates as the restrictions were called off resulted in reduced demand for lubricants and base oils. This led to oversupply conditions and falling base oil prices in Asia.