Japan Lubes Retreated in January


Japan Lubes Retreated in January
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Japan consumed 111,525 kiloliters (100,300 metric tons) of finished lubricants in January, a 13% decrease from 128,237 kL in January 2020, according to data released this week by a government agency.

Sequentially, the January consumption volume was down 19% from December’s 138,262 kL, which was the country’s highest monthly total in 2020.

The January results seemed consistent with analyst warnings that the nation’s economic recovery could falter because of new surges in the number of coronavirus cases.

“Private consumption is likely to continue picking up as a trend, supported also by the government’s economic measures,” the Bank of Japan said in its outlook for economic activity and prices on Jan. 21. “However, downward pressure, stemming mainly from the impact of the resurgence of COVID-19, is expected to remain strong for the time being, particularly in face-to-face services consumption. Thereafter, with the impact of COVID-19 waning gradually, an uptrend in private consumption is likely to become evident gradually, supported also by improvement in employee income.”

The nation’s production of lubricants, including for export, was up 4% at 200,105 kL in January. Japan’s lowest monthly lubricant production total in 2020 was 144,549 kL in May, and its high of 194,788 kL occurred in March.

The Bank of Japan noted that the country’s economy has picked up as a trend, while remaining in a severe situation to the impact of the pandemic at home and abroad. Foreign economies also have picked up, it noted, although the impact of COVID-19’s resurgence was apparent. “In this situation, exports and industrial production have continued to increase,” the bank said.

Lubricant imports were down 29% at 14,315 kL in January, and exports for the month jumped 41% to 94,814 kL.

“Japan’s exports of goods are projected to increase for a wide range of goods, including capital goods and [information technology]-related goods, mainly on the back of a global recovery in production activity, although the pace of increase is likely to decelerate, mainly for automobile-related goods, due to a peaking-out of pent-up demand,” the Bank of Japan said in its outlook.

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