The Petroleum Association of Japan forecast that the countrys lubricant demand growth will slow to an annual rate of 0.7 percent this year to reach 1.3 billion metric tons. Demand grew 1.2 percent in 2017.
Demand from the marine sector is expected to remain weak, but automotive production and industrial output are expected to continue to grow, the association stated in its press release.
The association predicts that automotive lubricant demand will increase 0.2 percent to 490 million tons, about 38 percent of the projected overall demand this year. Demand from gasoline cars is expected to remain almost unchanged, with only a slight increase in demand from diesel engine cars, the association said.
Industrial lubricant demand is projected to increase 1.4 percent to 739 million tons, or almost 57 percent of overall demand.
Demand for marine lubes is expected to fall 2.6 percent to 66 million tons due to a drop in domestic shipping of petroleum products and construction-related cargo.
Last year demand from the automotive and the industrial segments grew 0.9 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, while a slowdown in ship construction caused marine lube demand to shrink by 2.6 percent.