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China 2012 Oil Imports Rise 6.8%; Fourth-Highest Last Month

China’s crude imports increased at a faster rate last year than in 2011, while its daily net purchases in December were the fourth-highest in 2012.

The nation imported 271 million metric tons of crude last year, 6.8 percent more than a year earlier, according to data published today on the website of the Beijing-based General Administration of Customs. That compares with growth of 6 percent in 2011 and 17.5 percent in 2010. Net oil purchases, or imports minus exports, were 23.6 million tons in December, the equivalent of 5.6 million barrels a day, the data showed.

China’s exports of all goods increased 14 percent last month from a year earlier, the most since May, compared with the 5 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 40 economists and November’s 2.9 percent gain. Imports rose 6 percent after being unchanged in the previous month.

The nation remained a net importer of oil products, with 4.2 million tons of imports and 2.5 million tons of exports, today’s data showed.

China’s apparent crude consumption may rise 5.3 percent this year to 502 million tons, and apparent oil product consumption may increase 6.2 percent to 292 million tons, China National Radio reported today, citing the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation.

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