French Market Continues Recovery

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French Market Continues Recovery
© Joylyn McChesnie

Lubricant sales in France totaled 47,979 metric tons in October, according to data released today by the Professional Lubricants Center, the second consecutive month that this year’s sales bettered the corresponding month of last year.

Through the first 10 months of the year sales ran 10% lower than the same period of 2019, but the market appeared to be recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic the past few months.

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The results for October came September’s sales of 46,100 tons, which was 4% higher than the same month of 2019, and August sales of 32,488, which were hardly changed from the same month a year earlier.

The French market – the second-largest lube market in Western Europe after Germany – was hit hard during the early stages of the pandemic. Between March and May, domestic sales ran between 18% and 43% lower year to year. June’s sales were 7% higher than the same month of last year, but July’s ran 10% behind.

Based on the October data, the industrial segment appears to be leading the recovery. Sales of industrial lubes – not counting process oils – reached 18,991 tons that month, up 7% year on year. Automotive lube sales of 25,359 tons were 1% lower than October of 2019. Process oil sales reached 3,629 tons, up 18%.

Through the first 10 months of the year, sales of passenger car engine oils have declined 12%, while sales of commercial engine oils are down 9%. Automotive gear oils, however, are running 12% ahead of last year.

Within the industrial segment, sales of aviation engine and turbine oils – which are just a sliver of the market – along with turbine oils and hydraulic fluids with standard viscosity index are all down between 17% and 19%. Greases and fire-resistant hydraulic fluids are the only industrial product categories running ahead of last year, at 0.2% and 2%, respectively.

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