Lubricant sales in France were up slightly for 2021 and in December, compared to the same periods in 2020, according to an industry association’s data, with a strong rebound in spring and early summer giving way to somewhat slower demand in the year’s second half.
Last year, sales volume in the country reached 545,572 metric tons, a 4% increase from 2020. Sales in December edged up 1% to 41,478 tons.
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In addition to reporting demand for December, the Professional Lubricants Center’s latest statistics also include revised monthly figures from earlier in 2021.
Based on the revised data, the market last year started by lagging 2020 in January and February by 10% and 2%, respectively. Reflecting the start of COVID-19 countermeasures in March 2020, the 2021 monthly lube demand from March through May ran 25%, 63% and 22% ahead of volumes in the same months in 2020.
Year-over-year comparisons were mixed for the remaining seven months of 2021. June and July lube demand both fell 4% shy of the same periods in 2020, with September 12% behind and October 7% behind year-earlier results. Demand last year in August was up 7%, and November was 5% ahead.
The highest monthly demand totals in 2021 occurred in March, at 51,915 tons, and in July, at 49, 917 tons. The lowest mark was 38,461 tons in August.
Automotive lubricant sales volumes in 2021 increased 6% to 291,431 tons. Demand for engine oils in passenger cars increased 8% to 162,856 tons. Sales of engine oils used in commercial vehicles rose 4% to 55,002 tons.
Industrial lubricants demand – not including process oils – slipped 2% to 184,951 tons last year. Hydraulic transmission oils were up 3% at 72,543 tons, and industrial greases demand decreased 6% to 15,976 tons. Demand for process oils grew 15% last year to 69,190 tons.
In December, sales of automobile lubricants rose 6% to 21,453 tons. Passenger car engine oil demand increased 10% to 11,771 tons, and commercial vehicle engine oil sales grew 7% to 4,473 tons.
Industrial lubricant volumes – omitting process oils – declined 9% to 14,893 tons in December. Hydraulic transmission oil demand was up 1% at 6,023 tons, and industrial grease demand fell 14% to 1,318 tons. Process oils demand increased 12% to 5,132 tons.