China Crude Imports Dip Nearly 5% on Year Despite Inflow Boost

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  • Low throughput caps crude imports
  • Jan-April oil product exports drop 38%

China’s crude oil imports in January-April fell 4.8% year on year despite inflows rising 6.6% to 10.51 million b/d in April as a recovery from the previous lows in March and February, data from General Administration of Customs showed on May 9, reports Platts.

China crude imports fall

Despite the compensation, China’s crude imports in the first four months fell 4.8% year on year to 10.44 million b/d. The trend is likely to continue as faltering domestic consumption amid tight COVID controls coupled with limited oil product exports access dampen Asia’s top consumer’s crude appetite, analyst said.

The country cut crude imports to a four-month low of 9.51 million b/d in February amid Lunar New Year as well as Beijing Olympics and raised the flow to 10.1 million b/d in March.

On barrels-per-day basis, the April volume went up 4.1% from March.

The rise was more likely contributed by the state-run refineries as the independent refineries cut their crude imports by 15.4% from March to 2.43 million b/d in April, the lowest level since February 2020, S&P Global Commodity Insights’ data showed.

Suffered from surging crude prices and weak domestic demand, integrated independent refineries cut their average utilization rate to 77% while the Shandong-based private plants to 50.1% in April, which were two-year low.

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Source: Platts

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