Although lubricant demand slowed in France in June – declining from the same month in 2020 for the first year-on-year decline since February – demand for the first half of this year remained well ahead of last year’s pace, when the COVID-19 pandemic depressed demand.
The Professional Lubricants Center reported that finished lube sales in France fell 7% to 46,554 metric tons in June, declining from 50,046 tons from June 2020.
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For the first half of this year, demand reached 274,376 tons, a 10% increase from 249,734 tons in the same period in 2020. Last year, in the early stages of the pandemic, the country’s lube demand bottomed out at 29,419 tons in April, then rebounded past 50,000 tons by June. In the first six months of this year, monthly lubricants demand in France has been more consistent, topping 43,000 tons each month, except for 40,771 tons in April. Monthly demand peaked at 51,291 tons in March.
For June, the automotive segment’s lubricant sales volume fell 8% to 25,713 tons. For the first half of this year, the sales volume for the segment grew 15% to 150,283 tons.
Sales in the industrial segment – not including process oils – dropped 10% to 15,591 tons in June. During the first half of the year, industrial segment sales increased 2% to 90,676 tons. Process oil sales volumes slid 7% to 46,554 tons for June and grew 10% to 274,376 tons for the first six months of this year.
Passenger car engine oil demand declined 11% to 14,461 tons in June and rose 17% to 82,118 for the first half of this year. Sales of engine oils used in commercial diesel vehicles increased 2% to 4,897 tons for June. They grew 13% to 28,856 tons for the first half of 2021. Among automotive lubricants, automatic transmission fluid consumption increased 6% to 734 tons in June and jumped 37% to 5,014 tons for the first six months of this year.
In the industrial segment, hydraulic transmission oils were down 8% at 6,426 tons for June. Consumption increased 10% to 36,538 tons for the first half of this year. Compressor oil demand was down 2% at 231 tons and increased 12% to 1,368 tons during the first six months of this year.
France is the second-largest lubricant market in Western and Central Europe, following Germany.