From: Wagner, Jonathan
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2020 9:52:23 PM (UTC-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada)
To: Wagner, Jonathan
Subject: China’s March crude oil imports jump 12% on stockpiling – calculation – Reuters News
China’s crude oil imports in March rose 11.7% from a year earlier, as refiners stocked up on lower-priced cargoes despite falling domestic fuel demand and cuts in refining rates caused by the COVID-19 disease outbreak. China, the world’s top crude oil importer, took in 43.91 million tonnes of oil, according to a Reuters calculation based on data from the General Administration of Customs. That is equal to 10.34 million barrels per day (bpd). That compared to an average of 10.47 million bpd for the first two months of the year. Imports for the first quarter rose 5% from a year earlier to 130 million tonnes, customs said, equal to 10.43 million bpd. Refiners, including state majors and private plants, began slashing crude throughput in February as fuel demand collapsed amid a nationwide lockdown to contain the novel coronavirus. But independent plants, also known as "teapots", started cranking up production rates in March, as a plunge in oil prices triggered by the Saudi-Russia price war boosted margins. "Teapots started to book crude oil from late February when domestic virus transmission was easing. Some of the vessels have arrived in March and more will come in in April," said Li Yan, senior analyst at Longzhong Information Group. Li also expected an increase in oil imports in late April and May as Chinese refineries scrambled to purchase cheap energy after oil prices collapsed. Chinese fuel demand has started to recover as companies resume operations and travel curbs are eased, although analysts expect demand across the full year to fall 19.1% from 2019 in what would be the steepest drop since at least 2004. Natural gas imports, including piped and liquefied natural gas, in the first quarter were 24.66 million tonnes, up 1.8% from a year earlier, customs said. In March, imports were 6.86 million tonnes, down 1.2% from a year earlier, according to a Reuters calculation.
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