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Global Lubricant Market Initially Viscous as Cars Sales Stall, according Kline’s Fall 2011 Estimates

PARSIPPANY, NJ, NOVEMBER 8, 2011 –

Despite the global lubricants market’s 6% rebound in 2010 and a promising start to 2011, the industry’s growth has generally abated according to international consulting and research firm Kline & Company.

Asia, until now the major engine for growth, has seen its new car sales contract, with China’s growth estimate for 2011 at 3% compared to 30% last year, and India is estimated to see just 2% growth compared to the double-digit magnitude enjoyed last year. Geeta Agashe, Vice President of Kline's Petroleum & Energy practice, attributes this slowdown to regional inflation, interest rate hikes by central banks, the supply-chain disruption wrought by the tsunami/earthquake afflicting Japan, and exports contracted by lower demand. However, Agashe also observes that 2010’s benchmark growth was spurred by easier access to credit for car-buyers and government incentives, such as vehicle scrappage (“cash for clunkers”) schemes.

Conversely, 2011 Q1-Q3 car sales in the United States are up a defiant 10% over the same period last year and steel production remains resilient in the face of near universal declines: Asia is declining 0.7% per month (mainly due to China; India continues to grow), EU 27 is declining at 7.7% per month while Germany, France, and Italy are declining at 4%, 11%, and 19% per month, respectively.

Europe’s 2011 Q1-Q3 car sales show much disparity with Germany’s healthy 11% growth checked by a 5% drop in sales in the United Kingdom, an 11% drop in Italy, and a 21% drop in Spain. However, Germany’s exceptional performance is already waning as the eurozone makes more demands of it and the weakness of its neighboring markets curbs its exports. As an encouraging counterpoint, Europe’s commercial vehicle sales are up 12% over 2010.

Fueled by large domestic economies, Russia and Brazil are maintaining growth with car sales in Brazil alone up 7.5% over last year. Brazil’s strong currency is also helping by driving consumer spending. However, global financial uncertainly is affecting both countries’ exports and consequently growth is slowing.

With no solution yet found for the paralyzing eurozone financial crisis, exacerbating an already precarious and wary global economy, Kline’s research indicates modest—if any—growth in car sales in the near-future, which will challenge the lubricant industry’s recovery from the lows of 2008-2009.

Essentially, according to Agashe, despite an encouraging start Kline & Company extrapolates a flat global lubricants market in 2011, and with these particularly uncertain times, a volatile 2012. Agashe continues “Where there is change, there is opportunity and it’s thus imperative to be informed and prepared.” With a January 2012 release, Kline’s LubesNet Database, an interactive global database that captures finished lubricant consumption in vital lubricant markets, will provide Kline’s in-depth take and prognosis on 2012.

More on the lubricants market can also be found in Kline’s annual report Global Lubricants Market Analysis and Assessment which provides a detailed analysis of the global automotive and industrial lubricant industry segments.

About Kline
Kline is a worldwide consulting and research firm dedicated to providing the kind of insight and knowledge that helps companies find a clear path to success. The firm has served the management consulting and market research needs of organizations in the chemicals, materials, energy, life sciences, and consumer products industries for over 50 years. For more information, visit www.KlineGroup.com.

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