Korea Base Oils Remain on Rise

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Korea Base Oils Remain on Rise

South Korea’s base oil export volume for November was well above the same month last year. Monthly exports again topped 422,000 metric tons in volume and $400 million in value for a month for the fifth time this year, after exceeding those marks in April, July, September and October.

The country exported 441,362 tons of base oil in November, a 21% increase from 366,200 tons in the same month last year and 4% more than 425,768 tons in November 2019. That was the second-highest base oil export volume for a month this year, trailing only 442,932 tons in September. Sequentially, this year’s November total also topped by 3% the 429,142 tons exported in October.

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The declared value of base oil exports from South Korea jumped 92% to $439.3 million in November, compared with $228.8 million in the same month in 2020. Exports were also up 37% from $321.4 million in November 2019. Sequentially, this year’s November total was 1% below the $443.4 million mark in October.

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 LubricantsS-OilGS Caltex and Hyundai Shell Base Oil.

The nation imported 19,699 tons of base oil in November, a 14% decline from 22,776 tons in the same month last year and a 51% drop from 40,126 tons in November 2019. Sequentially, this November’s import volume – the lowest for a month in 2021 – was also a 39% decline from 32,262 tons in September.

Despite the decline in volumes, the value of imported base oil jumped 42% to $21.4 million in November, compared with $15.1 million in the same month last year, but was down 26% from $28.8 million in November 2019. It was the lowest import value for a month this year. Sequentially, the value was also down 39% from $35.3 million in October.

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