Finished lubricants consumption in Japan grew 22% year-to-year in April, compared to the same month last year. It marked the third consecutive month this year of higher consumption totals than in the same month in 2020.
The nation – one of the world’s six largest lube markets – consumed 129,563 kiloliters (117,000 metric tons) in April, compared with 106,414 in the same month in 2020, according to data released last week by the Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The ministry reported year-to-year increases of 15% and 7% respectively for March and February.
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The Japan Center for Economic Research noted in a May 18 Japanese Economy Update, that domestic economic activity remained limited in the country, deteriorating further because of two declarations this year of states of emergency resulting from new surges in COVID-19 cases – one in January and the other in April. According to news reports, Japan’s government extended a state of emergency covering major cities until at least June 20, representing a second extension of the state of emergency declared in April, though it indicated new cases had declined since mid-May.
“In Japan, after recording positive GDP growth rates in the third and the fourth quarters in 2020, a negative growth [will] have taken place in the first quarter of 2021,” the center noted.
Lubricant production, including exported volumes, increased 1% to 169,552 kL in April, compared to the same month last year, the ministry reported. Sequentially, this represented a 16% decline from 202,110 kL in March.
Lubricant exports declined 2% to 65,535 kL in April, down from 66,594 kL in the same month in 2020, while lubricant imports grew to 20,941 kL in April, improving 21% from 17,303 kL.