Japan’s Demand on Upswing

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Japan’s Demand on Upswing

Japan’s finished lubricants consumption reached 128,987 kiloliters (116,000 metric tons) in February, up 7% from 120,394 kL in the same month in 2020, according to data released recently by a government agency.

The country’s production of lubricants, including volumes that are exported, fell 7% to 169,813 kL in February, compared to the same month last year, the Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry reported on March 31. Sequentially, this represented a drop of 15% from 200,105 kL in January.

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Lubricant imports were down 4% at 17,096 kL in February, down slightly. Exports for the month increased 16% to 81,900 kL, up from 70,333 kL.

The Japan Center for Economic Research said in its Feb. 16 short-term forecast that it expected Japan’s economy to show a clear rebound entering the 2021 fiscal year – which starts in April – led by foreign demand private consumption.

“Private consumption will retrench and weaken in September 2021-March 2022, but private non-residential investment, public demand and net exports of goods and services will continue to exert a supportive effect,” the center stated.

In its short-term forecast on April 5, the center noted that during January-March this year, the re-declaration of a state of emergency in Japan in January — covering 11 prefectures — led to a decrease in the mobility of people. “As a result, private consumption fell,” the center said in its quarterly forecast. “The deterioration of the Japanese economy in this quarter was minimal.”

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