Japan Demand Dipped in May

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Japan Demand Dipped in May

Finished lubricants consumption in Japan dipped 1%, while production jumped by nearly 60% in May, compared to the same month last year, according to data released yesterday by the Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The nation consumed 128,938 kiloliters (116,000 metric tons) in May, compared to 129,577 kL in the same month last year. Sequentially, the May volume was down 33% from 193,528 kL in April.

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Lubricant production, including exported volumes, surged to 220,533 kL in May, a 59% increase from 138,472 kL – the lowest monthly production total last year – in the same month in 2021. May marked the third consecutive month of production topping the 200,000 kL mark. Sequentially, this was a 12% decline from 249,339 kL in April.

Lubricant exports jumped 109% to 79,391 kL in May, more than doubling the 38,029 kL – the lowest monthly total in 2021 – in the same month last year, the ministry reported.

Lubricant imports fell 25% to 15,008 kL in May, down from 20,072 kL. Sequentially, the total was 47% below the 28,554 kL imports volume in April.

The Japan Center for Economic Research said in a June 16 short-term forecast that it projected the relaxation of supply constraints on material and parts would not commence until the second part of fiscal year 2022 – October 2022 to March 2023 – rather than in April-September 2022 as it previously forecasted. “This shift is due to disruptions in international trade and specialization, fueled by China’s zero-COVID policies’ extremely harsh lockdowns in Shanghai,” the center said.

The center expressed optimism that exports will increase due to the expansion of the U.S. and Chinese companies in the last part of fiscal year 2022. “These boosting-up effects will be prominent in the last part of FY22 while being modest during its first part because China’s zero-COVID policy will cause the Chinese economy to slow down temporarily and delay the global improvement of supply constraints on materials and parts,” the center stated.

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