Japan Demand Jumped in First Half

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Japan’s lubricant consumption and production were both more than 20% higher in June than in the same period last year, while the totals for each in the first half of this year were also well above results for the same time frame in 2020, according to data released this week by a government agency.

The country’s domestic lubricant consumption volume grew 22% to 141,900 kiloliters (128,000 metric tons) in June, compared to 116,177 kL in the same month last year, according to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. That’s also well above the 107,771 kL consumption mark in June 2019. For the first half of this year, the consumption volume grew 13% to 784,982 kL, up from 694,130 kL in the first half of 2020.

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In June, the nation’s lubricant production – including for export – rose 23% to 178,310 kL, up from 144,549 kL, according to data recently released by the ministry. That’s also well above 124,290 kL production figure in June 2019. In the first six months of this year, production totaled 1.06 million kL, rising from 1.03 million tons.

The country’s exports and imports of lubricants also showed signs of year-over-year recovery in June. The export total of 66,467 kL was up 23% year to year, and imports jumped 214% to 23,318 kL. During the first six months of this year, imports totaled 117,887 kL, a 22% increase from 96,905 kL. For the first half of this year, exports increased 17% to 416,707 kL, compared to 355,423 kL.

In its July “Outlook for Economic Activity and Prices” report, the Bank of Japan asserted that the country’s economy has improved significantly despite remaining in a severe situation due to the impact of COVID-19 at home and abroad.

“Overseas economies have recovered on the whole, albeit with variation across countries and regions,” the bank stated in the report. “In this situation, exports and industrial production have continued to increase steadily. In addition, corporate profits and business sentiment have improved on the whole. Business fixed investment has picked up, although weakness has been seen in some industries. The employment and income situation has remained weak due to the impact of COVID-19.”

According to multiple news service reports, Japan expanded its COVID-19 state of emergency on Monday, raising the alert in response to a rise in coronavirus cases. The state of emergency – which had covered Tokyo and Okinawa – now includes the western prefecture of Osaka, along with prefectures Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama, and is effective through Aug. 31.

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Asia    Finished Lubricants    Japan    Market Topics    Region