Lubricant sales in France were 2% lower in November than in the same month of 2019, according to data released recently by an industry organization, further evidence that the French market has made a significant rebound from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
The country – the second-largest lubricant market in the European Union – consumed 39,264 metric tons of finished lubes during November, according to the Paris-based Professional Lubricants Center. That compared to 39,879 during November of 2019, according to revised statistics.
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That marked the fourth consecutive month that 2020 sales differed little from the corresponding month of 2019. In fact, sales from June through November were off less than 1% from the same period of 2019. That represented a big bounce back from the first three months of the crisis – March through May. Sales during that period fell 30% in 2020.
Sales of automotive lubricants fell 6% year-to-year to 20,424 tons, while sales in the industrial segment – not including process oils – rose 3% to 15,366 tons. Process oil volumes jumped 5% to 3,474 tons.
November demand for engine oils used in passenger cars was off around 10%, while sales of engine oils used in commercial vehicles increased by almost the same percentage. Within the industrial segment, sales of hydraulic oils saw one of the biggest increases, while general industrial oils was one of the few big categories to lose ground – 3% year on year.
Like many countries in Europe, France has struggled to contain multiple waves of COVID-19 outbreaks, and at times the government has imposed significant restrictions on various types of activities. Measures taken in the latter part of the year appear to have had markedly less impact on lubricant demand.