France’s lubricant consumption grew 20% in May, compared to the same month last year, reflecting continued recovery from a month when COVID-19 restrictions were making an impact in 2020. It marked the third straight month of year-to-year improvement after lower consumption totals in January and February.
According to statistics released by the Professional Lubricants Center, finished lube sales in France rose to 40,789 metric tons in May. That was up from 34,013 tons in May 2020, which was the second-lowest monthly consumption total for France – next to April’s 29,419 tons – in 2020. Year to date through May, total lubricants consumption was up 14% at 227,843 tons, compared with 199,689 tons in the same five-month period last year.
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The automotive segment’s sales volume increased 21% to 22,519 tons. The year-to-date total reached 124,570 tons, also up 21%. Sales in the industrial segment – not including process oils – grew 15% to 13,277 tons. The year-to-date increase was smaller, at 4%, to 75,106 tons. Process oil sales volumes jumped 33% to 4,993 tons for April, and grew 13% to 28,167 tons for the first five months of this year.
Passenger car engine oil demand grew 26% to 12,286 tons. Sales of engine oils used in commercial diesel vehicles rose 16% to 4,255 tons. Among automotive lubricants, automatic transmission fluid consumption was up 52% at 793 tons.
In the industrial segment, hydraulic transmission oils were up 23% at 5,456 tons, and industrial greases declined 1% to 1,065 tons. Compressor oils demand grew 22% to 196 tons.
Lubricant sales in France finished 2020 strong after a challenging period of several months due to the impact of stringent pandemic containment measures. Sales ranged from 9%-15% higher than 2019 for six of the final seven months of 2020, the exception being July, when demand was down 1% year to year.
France is the second-largest lubricant market in Western and Central Europe, following Germany.