With attendee numbers down from last year, the ICIS World Base Oils & Lubricants Conference was obviously feeling the effects of the Covid-19 coronavirus that started out in China. Many players from the Far East, India and even Europe were missing. With new cases being identified in Italy and the United Kingdom this week, the term pandemic is starting to be used.
Industrial and commercial operations in China have been particularly affected so far, but the implications for a global downturn are real and are starting the drip-feed through routine and ordinary business. The impacts on the base oil industry have so far been relatively localized to Far Eastern markets, but many discussions at the conference last week centered around supply and pricing for the short, medium and even longer terms.