South Korea’s February base oil exports rise to SE Asia

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South Korea's base oil exports to southeast Asia increased in February to their highest level in more than a year with persistently firm demand from the region.

The rise in shipments contrasted with a drop in exports to most other key markets like China, India and the US.

Exports to southeast Asian markets like Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam rose to 84,490t in February. The volume was up from 58,310t in January and the highest since the start of 2020.

Buyers sought more shipments from other sources in response to a sustained drop in regional supplies. Demand also increased strongly for premium-grade base oils.

Buyers have bid for these supplies at increasingly firm prices compared with buyers in other competing markets like China. Demand for light- and heavy-grade base oils added to their attraction. But demand from China focused more on heavy-grade base oils.

South Korean base oil exports to Indonesia rose in February to a 13-month high of 15,790t. Shipments to Thailand rose to an 11-month high of 22,400t, with its demand getting a further boost ahead of plant maintenance that began in March.

By Iain Pocock

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