China's apparent oil demand in March rose 3.3% year on year to 40.23 million metric tons (mt), or an average 9.5 million barrels per day (b/d), a Platts analysis of recent statistics released by the Chinese government showed.
"That's actually a recovery in the growth rate from the slowdown we saw hit in the fourth quarter of last year," said Song Yen Ling, Platts Senior Writer for China. "Growth rates have bounced back up to 2%-3%, as refiners stocked up ahead of the long Lunar New Year holiday and ahead of refinery turnarounds coming in the second quarter and seasonal diesel demand in the country's spring growing season.”
However, from a month-to-month perspective, apparent daily oil demand in March was the lowest this year, below February's record 9.75 million b/d and the 9.63 million b/d in January. Growth rates for those two months were 2.4% and 1.0%, respectively, accounting for revisions in the China data and the extra day in February.
In the first quarter of 2012, China's overall apparent oil demand rose by 2.2% year on year to an average 9.63 million b/d, buoyed by higher refinery runs and net oil product imports.
In comparison, apparent oil demand grew just 0.7% year on year in December last year and by 1.6% in the fourth quarter.