Japan’s finished lubricant demand tumbled in October, as consumption volume fell by 20% compared to the same month last year and by more than 30% sequentially from September. Lubricants imports were higher and exports lower for the month.
The country’s lubricant consumption dropped to 107,057 kiloliters, or 96,000 metric tons, in October, falling from 133,229 kl In October 2020, the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry reported on Nov. 30. That was also down 31% from 140,064 kL in September. The October demand was the second lowest for a month this year, ahead of 68,909 kL in August. Demand topped 140,000 kL in four months this year, peaking at 147,253 kL in July.
Japan’s production of lubricants, which includes exports, slid 6% to 145,046 kL. The October lubricant production volume was second lowest for a month this year, only ahead of 138,472 kL in May. The 2021 high point of 200,105 kL occurred in January.
Imports of lubricants were up from a year ago, while exports dropped to their second-lowest monthly volume this year. Imported lubricant volumes experienced a massive increase, jumping 164% to 28,190 kL. That was the second-highest import volume this year, behind 29,550 kL in September. Exports in October fell 58% to 41,043 kL, which was also 29% below the September total. The September export volume was only ahead of 38,029 kL in May.
The Japan Economic Research Center on Nov. 9 released its updated Recession Indicator for the country, saying it rose to 71% in September from 35.7% in August. “The leading index [declined] as the underlying data fell for three consecutive months, due to deteriorations in the inventory ratio of final demand goods and producer goods for mining and manufacturing, sales forecast of small businesses and others,” the center said, “and the recession probability exceeds 67%, which is a reference point of signaling a recession for the first time in one year and eight months based on estimated value in this month.”
Declaration of a state of emergency in Tokyo and other prefectures until the end of September and reduced production of automobiles affected economic indicators, the center said. “However, the probability [of recession] may be revised downward depending on data in October, so it is necessary to keep in mind an uncertainty is involved in the estimated probability.”