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China Diesel Exports Fall to 7-Month Low as Sinopec Drains Quota

China’s net exports of diesel dropped to the lowest in seven months as Asia’s largest oil refiner exhausted its export quota and faced the weakest oil consumption in nine months.

Overseas sales of diesel exceeded imports by 177,004 metric tons in May, according to data e-mailed by the General Administration of Customs in Beijing today. That’s equivalent to 42,600 barrels a day and is the lowest level since October, when net exports declined to 107,277 tons, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. May’s figure slid 39 percent from April.

China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer, is reducing diesel exports as its largest refiner used up export allowances. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, shipped “several thousand” tons from its Maoming refinery in Guangdong province last month through its trading arm, China International, a company official who asked not to be identified, said on June 14. Unipec, as the unit is known, won’t export any diesel cargoes in June, according to the official.

The country’s apparent oil demand, or domestic refinery output plus net import of refined oil, was 9.53 million barrels a day last month, the weakest since August, today’s data showed. Diesel output will fall 0.3 percent to 43.2 million tons this quarter, according to Xinhua News Agency’s China Oil, Gas & Petrochemicals newsletter on May 1, citing research by the nation’s top energy producer, China National Petroleum Corp.

China exported 415,698 tons of gasoline in May, the customs data shows. That’s about 113,000 barrels a day. Coal imports, including lignite, rose 5.6 percent from a year earlier to 27.57 million tons last month. The country imported 1.35 million tons of liquefied natural gas for the month, a 19 percent increase.

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