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The China Customs Administration (GAC) said China’s crude oil imports fell 9.4% year-on-year in August, due to the closure of state-owned refineries and declining operations at independent refineries. Lower refining margins and declining crude oil purchases led to the closures.
China, the world’s largest crude oil importer, imported 40.35 million tons of crude oil in August, or about 9.5 million barrels per day, compared with 8.79 million barrels per day in July and 10.49 million barrels per day in August 2021.
Crude oil imports reached 330.18 million tons, or about 9.92 million barrels per day, in the first eight months of the year, down 4.7% year-on-year, due to the expansion of COVID-19 control measures. As a result, demand for fuels decreased.
The refinery closure last month could also have an impact on imports.
Exports of refined petroleum products rose to 4.78 million tons, the highest level since June 2021, from 3.41 million tons in July. This is due to the fact that the Chinese authorities have set new export quotas.
Since the beginning of the year, oil exports have fallen by 33.5% year-on-year to 29.82 million tons.
Natural gas imports in August through pipelines and in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG) reached 8.85 million tons, down 15.2% year-on-year. In the first eight months of 2022, imports decreased by 10.2% to 71.05 million tons.