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CHINA DATA: June crude imports at 47-month low of 8.75 million b/d


H1 crude inflows fall 3% on year to 10.23 mil b/d

June oil product exports hit 3.2 mil mt, five-year low

H1 net exports drop 58%

  • Author
  • Analyst Oceana Zhou
  • Editor
  • Daniel Lalor
  • Commodity
  • Oil

China's crude oil imports in June dropped to a 47-month low of 8.75 million b/d, ending a recovery going back to March, data from the General Administration of Customs showed July 13.

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The previous low was 8.52 million b/d in July 2018, GAC data showed.

The volume in June was down 11% year on year and 19% moth on month and was lower than the estimates of most analysts, who had expected a fall amid destocking activities. Platts Analytics had estimated 9.24 million b/d.

The drop in inflows in June was more likely due to less spot purchasing by state-run refineries. Independent refineries lifted their crude imports by 3.1% month on month to 2.52 million b/d in June, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights data.

According to Kpler shipping data, China's crude stocks stood at an 11-month high of 945 million barrels in May, accounting for 63% of the country's crude storage capacity that Kpler monitors.

With the slump in crude imports, stocks fell to 939 million barrels in June, Kpler data showed.

GAC releases data in metric tons, which S&P Global converts to barrels using a 7.33 conversion factor. On a metric tons basis, the 35.8 million mt in June was down 22% from May.

In the first half of the year, China's crude imports were down 3.1% year on year amounted to 253 million mt, or 10.23 million b/d, the data showed.


Oil products exports in June fell 2% month on month to 3.21 million mt, the lowest since 3.04 million mt in January 2017, GAC data showed.

That came as the government issued 4.5 million mt of export quotas in May/June for gasoline, gasoil and jet fuel, leaving 7.15 million mt of quotas for June onward until another round of 5 million mt of quota was released in early July.

"It suggests Chinese oil firms' cautiousness in using the quotas despite exporting margins are stronger than domestic sales margin, and they are more likely to keep the exporting pace in rest of the year," a Beijing-based analyst said.

GAC's oil product import and export data is believed to include a basket of oil products, with gasoline, gasoil, jet fuel and fuel oil as the key products.

On a year-on-year basis, outflows fell 50% in June, while in the first six months of the year exports fell 41% to 21.6 million mt.

China also cut its oil products imports in the first half of the year to 11.6 million mt, down 7.1% year on year. As a result, net exports dropped 58% in the first half of the year.

CHINA'S OIL TRADE DATA (million mt):

June 2022
June 2021
May 2022
Crude imports
Oil product imports
Oil product exports
Net oil prod exports

H1 2022
H1 2021
Crude imports
Oil product imports
Oil product exports
Net oil prod exports

Source: General Administration of Customs