Finished lubricants consumption in Japan edged down 1% to 127,473 kiloliters (115,000 metric tons) in February, from 128,987 kL in the same month in 2021, according to data released Thursday by a government agency. The volume was the highest consumption for a month since 140,064 kL last September.
Japan’s lubricants production, including exported volumes, declined 4% to 163,569 kL in February, according to the Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry report on March 31. Despite the decline, it marked the third successive month of 162,000 kL or more in production.
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Lubricant imports climbed 72% at 29,472 kL in February. Sequentially, this nearly doubled January’s 14,676 kL total.
Exports for the month dropped 24% to 61,837 kL, compared with 81,900 kL. This was the highest monthly export volume since August’s 64,576 kL.
Japan’s leading index fell in January for the first time in four months, according to a March 9 recession indicator report by the Japan Center for Economic Research. Factors cited included deteriorations in several aspects – including consumer confidence, the inventory ratio of producer goods for mining and manufacturing and the sales forecast for small business.
In addition, the COVID-19 omicron variant surge after the new year pushed down the economic indicator related to consumption and production. The analysis noted continued concerns about greater downside risks to the economy as the year continues, including higher resource prices and financial market turmoil due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.