Japan’s finished lubricants consumption grew 32% in May, compared to the same month last year. It marked the fourth consecutive month this year that the country’s consumption total topped the same month in 2020.
One of the world’s six largest lube markets, the nation consumed 129,577 kiloliters (117,000 metric tons) in May, improving from 98,100 kL in the same month in 2020, according to data released recently by the Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The ministry reported year-to-year increases of 22% in April and 15% in March.
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The Japan Center for Economic Research expressed optimism in a June 30 short-term forecast that the country’s economic situation will improve during fiscal year 2021 – which runs from April 1 to March 31. The center expects the country’s economy to experience a rebound in the fiscal year, driven by foreign demand and private consumption.
Although the report anticipates that Japan will make progress in administering the COVID-19 vaccine, a surge in infections led Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to put Tokyo under a new state of emergency starting July 5 and lasting through Aug. 22. It is Japan’s fourth declared emergency period since the start of the pandemic. Only 15% of Japan’s population has been fully vaccinated.
Lubricant production, including exported volumes, decreased 5% to 138,472 kL in May, declining from 145,083 kL in the same month last year, the ministry reported. Sequentially, this represented an 18% drop from 169,552 in April.
Lubricant exports fell 26% to 38,029 kL in May, down from 51,535 kL in the same month in 2020. Lubricant imports rose 32% to 20,072 kL in May, increasing from 15,242 kL.