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INSIGHT


Base Oil Report


Samantha Wright, Senior Editor Manager


Europe European domestic Group I and II spot prices held steady while Group III prices firmed in mid-May. Supply constraints persisted in the domestic market, though there was growing discontent among Group I buyers. There were expectations availability would improve in June as several planned maintenances in the region were due to finish during May.


European, Baltic Sea and Black Sea export prices were all stable in mid-May. There was still strong global demand for export material, though cheaper prices in other regions were making European base oils less competitive.


US


US base oils prices were steady to firm across Group I and Group II while Group III values increased mid-May as shortages persisted. On the heels of February’s record-low output of paraffinic base oil because of weather-related outages, supplies are expected tight through 2021. The Atlantic hurricane season was approaching, causing further concerns over availability.


Demand remained very strong across the market in May and there were no expectations this would ease in the coming months. There was some wariness from buyers of the continuous price hikes over the past few months. Rising costs of all raw materials and shipping have forced some blenders to temper their own operating rates.


Asia


Base oils prices in Asia were largely stable in mid-May. Availability remained very limited from Japan and southeast Asia.


LINK www.icis.com


Demand was slightly lacklustre for import material in China, and in India there was ample supply from the Middle East and the US. A spike in coronavirus cases in India further muted buying interest from the country.


Middle East


In mid-May, base oils values from the Middle East were stable to firm. Local supply in the UAE was showing signs of a marginal improvement, but it was unclear if this would continue in the weeks ahead due to an absence of shipments from Iran.


Demand was particularly subdued in May due to Ramadan. There was slightly more material in the market as some vessels have been redirected away from India because of the surge in COVID-19 infections there.


LUBE MAGAZINE NO.163 JUNE 2021


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