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China Crude Imports Recover from 3-Month Low

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Published on : Oct 13, 2015

China’s imports of crude oil went up in September after a low of three months as the second largest crude consumer in the world sought bargain barrels meant for its reserves and refiners led to a spike in processing. 

Overseas purchases went up from 26.59 million metric tons in August to 27.95 million metric tons in September, according to preliminary information revealed by the General Administration of Customs on Tuesday. Bloomberg calculations find that this figure is equivalent to 6.83 million barrels per day, which rose 8.6 per cent from the month before that. 

In April and June this year, China was the largest buyer of oil in the world. So far, the country has gathered around 200 million barrels of crude oil in its reserves and plans on accumulating 500 million barrels towards the end of the decade. The International Energy Agency said that total imports by China dragged out the longest running losing streak in six years. This underscored the headwinds towards global development in the midst of declining prices of commodities. 

Jean Zou, an analyst at Shanghai based commodity research company ICIS China, told Bloomberg from Guangzhou that in order to boost imports of September, China may possibly have made the most of the fall in prices of crude oil. He added that Sinopec, the largest refiner in the country, boosted oil processing last month by 2.5 per cent compared to August. 

In September, Chinese refiners increased processing rates to the maximum level in a span of three months, according to another analyst at ICIS China Amy Sun. Additional space for stockpiling was created after commercial crude inventories went down towards the end of August. From January to September, oil imports reached 249 million tons, gaining 8.8 per cent, as against the same period in the previous year.