South Korea exported a larger volume of base oil in May than in the same month last year, marking the fourth consecutive month with a year-to-year increase. The export value almost tripled – the second successive month with a dramatic increase – reflecting the continued rise in base oil margins.
The country exported 320,529 metric tons of base oil in May, a 30% increase from 247,102 tons in the same month last year, according to data released by the Korea Customs Service. Sequentially, the volume was down 25% from 427,724 tons in April and was the lowest export amount since May 2020.
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The declared value of base oil exported by South Korea in May grew by 182% to $320.5 million, improving from $113.5 million in the same month last year. That represented the third consecutive month of base oil export value topping $320 million and was the fourth consecutive month that the value was well above the year-earlier total.
South Korea is one of the world’s largest base oil exporters, sending most of its volume to markets around the world to generate healthy profits for the nation’s refiners. Those include SK Lubricants, S-Oil, GS Caltex and Hyundai Shell Base Oil.
The country imported 55,260 tons of base oil in May, a 72% increase from 32,097 tons in May 2020. Last year, base oil imports peaked at 49,038 tons in August.