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China’s Crude Oil Imports Increase to Record as Economy Expands

China’s daily oil imports rose to a record in September as the world’s second-largest economy expanded and demand for energy grew.

China imported a net 25.61 million metric tons of crude oil last month, according to figures on the website of the General Administration of Customs today. That’s equivalent to an average 6.26 million barrels a day, 25 percent more than in August and 2 percent greater than the previous record of 6.13 million barrels a day in July, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

China may increase its net crude imports to 6.45 million barrels a day by October, surpassing an estimated 6.23 million for the U.S., according to a forecast published on Aug. 9 by the Washington-based Energy Information Administration. A government report due on Oct. 18 may show that China’s gross domestic product grew 7.8 percent from a year earlier in the third quarter, according to a Bloomberg News survey of economists. Growth in the second quarter was 7.5 percent.

Oil imports into China have risen “as a result of expansion in the economy and its growing demand for resources,” customs spokesman Zheng Yuesheng said at a briefing in Beijing today. “It’s hard to predict how much oil China will import in the future, which will depend on the macro-economy.”

The EIA, the U.S. Energy Department’s statistical arm, predicted that Chinese net imports will reach 6.57 million barrels a day next year, with the rate for the U.S. dropping to 5.71 million.

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