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China April crude oil imports rise 5.45% on previous year

China’s crude oil imports rose on the previous year in April, as refiners prepared for a fully recovered Labour Day holiday travel season, official data showed on Thursday.

Crude imports in April totalled 44.72 million metric tons, or about 10.88 million barrels per day (bpd), according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

That represented a 5.45% increase from the relatively low 10.4 million bpd imported in April 2023.

China saw more than 1.3 billion passenger trips over the five day Labour Day holiday that began on May 1, up 2.1% from a year earlier, state media outlet Xinhua reported.

Highway traffic was up 2.1% while air trips surged 8.1%, Xinhua said.
Domestic airline seat capacity in April was up 1.3% on last year, data from consultancy OAG showed.

China’s manufacturing sector continued to see muted recovery in April.
Imports slowed by 5.8% from March’s level of 11.55 million bpd.

“China’s crude buying slowed down on strengthened crude oil prices and weakened domestic diesel demand,” said Lin Ye, an analyst at Rystad Energy in Beijing.

“China’s crude demand is expected to be supported by larger export quota this year and new refinery start-up later this year,” she added.

Chinese consultancy JLC said ahead of the data that it forecast sea-borne oil shipments to fall 4.6% in April from March due to tight profit margins and the arrival of maintenance season.

JLC forecast maintenance at state-owned refineries to peak in the second quarter, with a knock-on effect on April refinery throughput. However, the amount of capacity shutdown for maintenance at state-owned refineries is to be 24% lower than last year, according to data cited by China commodities consultancy MySteel.

Natural gas imports for April rose 14.7% from a year earlier to 10.30 million tons, customs data showed.
Prices of LNG for Asia at the end of April were down 11.3% on the same period last year, and down 43% from last year’s peak in October.

Customs data also showed exports of refined oil products, which include diesel, gasoline, aviation fuel and marine fuel, were up 21.46% from a year earlier at 4.55 million tons.
Source: Reuters

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