European, Middle Eastern and African base oil markets are mixed this week, with prices continuing to weaken in some regions whilst appearing stable in others. With the end of the year fast approaching, procurement in most markets is slowing as blenders and resellers look to reduce inventories as much as possible.
API Group I oils have seen the strangest moves in some areas. This group of base oils saw record high prices just before summer, and then prices crashed as availabilities improved following maintenance turnarounds at some refineries and the start of a lower demand cycle. Prices fell steeply, and when raw material costs rose some base oil values were below breakeven levels, leading producers to raise prices again.