China's apparent oil demand in October rose 2.9% year over year to 42.65 million metric tons (mt), or an average 10.09 million barrels per day (b/d), according to a just-released Platts analysis of Chinese government data. The official data has also showed that China’s year-to-date import and export volumes between January and October are at a net balance.
Stimulus measures implemented by the Chinese government and autumn harvest activity in the farming sector continued to buoy domestic oil demand going into the fourth quarter. Some of these measures include the loosening of credit controls, and the lifting of the annual summer ban on fishing in China’s waters.
Despite the year-over-year increase, China’s apparent oil demand in October slipped 2.5% from September. Meanwhile, total apparent oil demand was 9.96 million b/d during the first 10 months of the year, an increase of 2% from the same period last year.
In an unprecedented development, China has become exactly balanced in oil products trade over January to October this year, with oil product imports and oil product exports at exactly the same volume.
Platts senior writer for China, Song Yen Ling, said: “With refiners continuing to request for export quotas, there appears to be more room for exports to grow right until the end of the year, and China could very well be a net exporter of oil products this year.”
Crude throughput by refineries in October rose 6.3% year over year to 43.51 million mt, or an average 10.29 million b/d, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) mid-November.
China's oil product imports tumbled 22.2% year over year to 2.28 million mt in October, while exports soared 30.3% to 3.14 million mt, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs. As a result, China was a net exporter of oil products in October, with volumes hitting a record 860,000 mt.