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China’s low-sulphur marine fuel exports surge 51% in July

China’s exports of very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) in July rose 51% from a year ago, but they were lower than the peak in late 2020, customs data showed on Friday, as total oil product exports slowed because of a regional resurgence of COVID-19.

July exports of VLSFO, which has a maximum sulphur content of 0.5% to comply with emission rules set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), were 1.78 million tonnes, General Administration of Customs data showed.

That is up from 1.66 million tonnes in June and down from a record 2.47 million tonnes in December. Exports of the fuel for the January to July period jumped 52% to 11.58 million tonnes.

China had issued a third batch of VLSFO marine fuel export quotas earlier this month, bringing this year’s total so far to 11 million tonnes.

Friday’s customs data also showed that 1.37 million tonnes of fuel oil, including both high-sulphur and low-sulphur products, were brought into bonded storage in July.

Imports under general trade in July more than doubled the level in the prior month, as China’s independent refiners were forced to resume purchasing the fuel as a feedstock for their plants because of tightening crude oil import quotas.

The table below shows China’s fuel oil imports and exports, all in metric tonnes.

The column of exports under bonded storage trade largely captures China’s VLSFO bunkering sales along its coast.
Source: Reuters

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