Platts Report: China's Oil Demand Reaches Record High in December

      Platts Report: China's Oil Demand Reaches Record High in December

Expected Economic Recovery Will Likely Lead to Higher 2013 Oil Consumption

PR Newswire

SINGAPORE, Jan. 23, 2013

SINGAPORE, Jan. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --China's apparent oil demand* rose
7.7% year on year in December to 44.76 million metric tons (mt), or an average
10.58 million barrels per day (b/d), the highest on record, according to
Platts analysis of recent Chinese government data showed.

"Last month we saw strong growth in China's oil demand of 7.7%, which was
higher than the 4.6% increase in December 2011. Part of this was due to a
stronger economic performance, which boosted demand for raw materials. But the
higher run rates were also due to refinery expansions and expected higher
seasonal demand for oil products," said Song Yen Ling, Platts senior writer
for China.

December apparent demand surpassed the previous record high of 10.5 million
b/d in November 2012, when apparent demand had risen 9.2% year on year.

The robust growth comes on the back of a recovery in China's economy, which
rebounded to 7.8% in the fourth quarter after bottoming out in the third

Apparent oil demand in December was boosted by record refinery throughput,
which rose 8.4% from December 2011 to 10.2 million b/d last month, according
to data released by China's National Bureau of Statistics. This was despite
net oil product imports in December falling 8.4% year on year to 1.64 million

Chinese refiners kept their refinery run rates high from September last year
to prepare for increased seasonal winter demand, particularly after they had
depleted domestic product stocks in the summer. In addition, new refinery
capacity expansions also likely resulted in higher refinery runs.

Overall apparent oil demand in China averaged 9.68 million b/d in 2012, an
increase of 3.4% compared with 2011. Growth this year could surpass this if
the economy continues to improve and the government maintains its stimulus

"As the recovery in China's economy continues, it is likely that the country
will consume more oil this year," said Song.

In China's individual oil products markets, apparent demand for gasoil in
December was largely flat from the same month in 2011, dipping 0.9% year on
year to 14.73 million mt or 3.56 million b/d. China consumes more gasoil than
any other oil product.

Domestic production for the fuel, primarily used in the transport and
industrial sectors, rose 2.2% year on year to 14.98 million mt in December,
while net exports were 250,000 mt, compared with net imports of 210,000 mt in
December 2011.

"It's expected that gasoil demand will pick up in the coming months, given
China's strong industrial production. Similar to November, the higher gasoil
exports in December were likely due to extra refining capacity coming online,"
Song said.

Apparent demand for gasoline in December rose 16.7% year on year to 8.22
million mt (2.25 million b/d), largely driven by domestic output, which rose
17.6% to 8.47 million mt. China is a net exporter of gasoline. Total gasoline
exports last month rose 31.6% year on year to 250,000 mt.

Meanwhile, jet fuel/kerosene demand in December rose by 13.7% year on year to
1.61 million mt (405,000 b/d), buoyed by domestic production which surged
16.2% year on year to 1.9 million mt. Jet/kerosene exports rose 13% to 780,000
mt while imports edged up 4.3% to 490,000 mt.


                  Dec '12 Dec '11 % Chg Nov '12 Oct '12 Sep '12 Aug '12
Net crude imports 23.59   21.59   9.3   23.25   23.33   19.88   18.21
Crude production  17.94   16.98   5.7   17.39   17.91   17.43   17.53
Apparent demand   44.76   41.57   7.7   42.96   41.28   40.12   37.87

*Platts calculates China's apparent or implied oil demand on the basis of
crude throughput volumes at the domestic refineries and net oil product
imports, as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics and Chinese customs.
Platts also takes into account undeclared revisions in NBS historical data.

The government releases data on imports, exports, domestic crude production
and refinery throughput data, but does not give official data on the country's
actual oil consumption figure and oil stockpiles. Official statistics on oil
storage are released intermittently.

Platts releases its monthly calculation of China's apparent demand between the
18th and 26th of every month via press release and via its website. Any use of
this information must be appropriately attributed to Platts.

For more information on crude oil, visit the Platts website at
For Chinese-language information on oil and the energy and metals markets,

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