South Korean Base Oil Exports Slip

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South Korean Base Oil Exports Slip

South Korea exported less base oil at less value in November last year than in the same month of 2019, according to Korea Customs Service Data.

South Korea exported 366,200 metric tons of base oil in November 2020, down 14 percent from 425,768 tons in November 2019.

The value of the country’s base oil exports for last November was $228.7 million, down 29% from $321.4 million year to year.

South Korea is one of the world’s largest base oil exporters, sending most of the volume that it produces to markets around the world to generate healthy profits for the nations’ refiners. Those include SK Lubricants, S-Oil, GS Caltex and Hyundai Shell Base Oil.

Since the pandemic started, the lowest export volume was 247,102 tons in May, down 39% year to year. The high point was 397,573 tons in June, up 15% from the same month in 2019.

During the first 11 months of 2020, South Korea exported 4 million tons of base oil, down 5% from 4.2 million tons in the year-earlier period. The value of base oil exports over that 11-month period totaled $2.2 billion last year, down 27% from $3 billion.

The country imported 22,776 tons of base oil last November, down 43% from 40,126 tons in the same month of 2019. Year-to-date through last November, South Korea imported 373,290 tons, 3% less than the same period of 2019.

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