France Demand Down Again

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France Demand Down Again

France consumed 46,886 metric tons of finished lubricants in October, once again running behind the same month of 2020, according to the latest data from the Paris-based Professional Lubricants Center.

This year’s October consumption was 9% lower than October of last year. It was the fourth month of the past five that this year’s demand ran behind the corresponding month from 2020.

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Through the first 10 months of the year the market is running 3% ahead of last year, but that is mostly due to beating 2020 demand by large margins during March and April. Lubricant consumption bottomed out during those months in 2020, due to the economic shock of early countermeasures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Demand for this October was down year to year for both the automotive and industrial segments. The 24,752 tons of automotive lubes was 8% lower than October of 2020, while consumption of industrial products was off by 11% at 16,967 tons. Process oil demand fell 4% year to year to 5,167 tons.

The French economy improved significantly during the second half of 2020 and continued its rebound in 2021. The nation’s central bank said in an updated forecast this week that it expects gross domestic to increase 6.7% for the full year. During the third quarter monthly GDP finally reached pre-pandemic levels. The Bank of France expects growth to moderate to slow to 3.6% next year.

Growth rates for lubricant demand typically lag GDP. Except for August, lubricant demand in France has been lower than last year in every month since June.

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