In Japan, the latest May 2012 monthly data is dominated once more by huge increases in the direct use of crude and residual fuel oil, as a result of nuclear plants being shut down. Due to the shutdown of most of these plants, and in combination with stricter stress tests being one of several conditions for their restarting, direct crude and residual fuel burning for electricity production is expected to increase throughout 2012. Power plants are using crude — and only those crudes with a low sulphur content —, fuel oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) for electricity power-generation. Moreover, driven by increases in both mileage and the number of vehicles, as a result of government incentives, as well as starting from a very low baseline, transportation fuel consumption has risen, too. In South Korea, April oil product sales climbed strongly, increasing by 5.8% y-o-y; the biggest additions have been observed in gas/diesel oil and gasoline.
OECD Pacific oil consumption is expected to grow by 0.29 mb/d in 2012, while the bulk of the increase will result from direct crude/fuel oil burning for electricity generation and the substitution of nuclear plants. Driven by government incentives and subsidies, Japanese auto sales continued to rise strongly in June, by a remarkable 43.6%. This trend was seen in the fourth quarter of last year and the first quarter of this year. Japanese auto demand is expected to rise strongly for the rest of the year, partly due to higher sales in tsunami-hit areas, as the government continues itsm efforts to stimulate demand for special cars, such as hybrids, pure electric cars and other vehicles that employ advanced technology like clean diesel engines. South Korean domestic car sales fell by 3.5% y-o-y in June, while exports grew strongly by 8.9% y-o-y for the same month.