South Korea’s base oil export volumes remained flat in February for the second consecutive month, compared to the same month last year, according to data released by the Korea Customs Service. February’s total was 5% lower than in January and was the lowest volume of base oil exported by the country since August 2021.
The nation exported 346,900 metric tons in February, up slightly from 345,827 tons in the same month in 2021. The February amount was the lowest since 338,225 tons last August. The lowest export volume for a month last year was 321,141 tons in May. Monthly exports had topped 408,000 tons through the last four months of last year, before declining to 365,687 tons in January.
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The value of the base oil exported from South Korea in February was $346.3 million, a 27% increase from $272 million. That was the lowest export value for a month since last May’s $323.6 million.
One of the world’s largest base oil exporters, South Korea ships most of its produced volumes to markets globally. This results in large profits for its refiners, which include SK Lubricants, S-Oil, GS Caltex and Hyundai Shell Base Oil.
The country imported 40,981 tons of base oil in February, a 43% increase from 28,595 tons. It was only the second time since September that the monthly import total topped 40,000 tons. The value of imported base oil in February, $40.6 million, was up 79% from $22.7 million.