Large state-owned refiners in China deferred purchases of crude oil due to rising prices and independent refiners remained constrained by import limits resulting in the country’s crude oil imports dropping down to their lowest level since September 2018.
According to figures from the General Administration of Customs released on Sunday, the largest crude oil importer of the world imported 37.8 million tonnes of crude oil last month, which is equivalent to 8.9 million barrels per day (bpd).
The country had imported an average of 9.99 million barrels per day in September and 10.02 million barrels per day in the same month the previous year.
According to data from China’s customs department, crude imports were 425.06 million tonnes, or 10.21 million bpd, a 7.2 per cent year on year decrease in the January-October period.
On a monthly basis, imports of crude oil was down for the second straight month in October, which happened in the face of a 62 per cent increase in crude oil prices globally this year as fuel consumption was boosted as nations across the world lifted the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
The Chinese government’s crackdown on illegal trading in crude oil quotas and import allocations for independent oil refiners also depressed crude oil imports.
According to customs statistics released on Sunday, there was a 31.8 per cent drop in China’s refined oil product exports in October to 3.95 million tonnes.
There was also a 24.6 per cent decline in October of import of natural gas, comprising piped and liquefied natural gas (LNG), which was at 9.38 million tonnes.
According to analysts, China could see an increase in import of oil in November because oil refiners of the country have pledged to make up for the shortage in diesel and gasoline supplies in the country which has resulted in the price of fuel being pushed up in mainland China.
Moreover, with respect to the quotas for independent refiners, Chinese authorities have issued 14.89 million tonnes to the companies for importing of crude oil for the remaining period of 2021.
Additionally, the operator of China’s single largest refinery, China’s Zhejiang Petrochemical Corp (ZPC), has separately been given a quota of 12 million tonnes.
(Adapted from USNews.com)