Chinese crude oil imports in June near 4-year low as lockdowns hit demand


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SINGAPORE — China’s daily crude oil imports in June fell to their lowest level since July 2018 as refiners predicted the strict COVID-19 lockdown would dampen demand, data showed Wednesday.

The world’s top buyer of crude imported 35.82 million tonnes last month, according to data from the General Administration of Customs, which equates to 8.72 million barrels per day (bpd).

This is 11% lower than a year ago and 19% lower than the level of 10.8 million bpd in May.

Imports in the first half of the year fell 3% from the same period last year to 252.5 million tonnes, or about 10.2 million bpd, as months of lockdown measures COVID control and government restrictions on fuel exports have capped crude purchases.

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As refiners reduced imports in response to rigid mobility restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus, they mostly avoided costlier supplies from countries like Saudi Arabia and Angola and focused on crude. Russian cheaper.

Chinese commodity consultancy JLC estimated that first-half imports by smaller independent refiners fell 30% year-on-year to 50.12 million tonnes, or about 2.02 million bpd.

« There will be some rebound in import demand in the third quarter as refiners ramp up operations, but high oil prices will continue to dampen overall buying, » JLC said in a research note.

Wednesday’s data also showed exports of refined petroleum products halved from their level a year ago to 3.21 million tonnes for June, with first-half exports down 41%. over one year to 21.6 million tonnes.

China has issued quotas for an additional 5m tonnes of refined fuel exports, just a month after a top-up of 4.5m tonnes of permits, although total releases so far this year are 40m lower. % at levels a year ago.

The new quotas should help reduce high domestic stocks while helping refiners enjoy strong export margins in a tight global market, traders said. (tonne = 7.3 barrels of crude oil) (Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Muyu Xu; Editing by Jason Neely, Andrew Heavens and Barbara Lewis)



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