China’s Oil Refining Climbs to Satisfy Robust Gasoline Demand

  • Crude refining rises to 10.48 million b/d, highest since June
  • Increasing runs come as product exports jump to 10-month high

China’s crude processing rose as strong gasoline demand encouraged higher refinery output and amid a boost in the country’s oil product exports.

Refiners processed 44.34 million metric tons of crude in August, up 6.5 percent from the same month last year, data from the Beijing-based National Bureau of Statistics showed Sunday. That’s about 10.48 million barrels a day, 1.8 percent higher than July and the most since June’s record 10.59 million barrels a day.

China’s apparent gasoline consumption was near a record high in July at 2.73 million barrels a day, up 17 percent from a year earlier, government data compiled by Bloomberg showed. Robust demand of the motor fuel has been supporting Chinese and broader Asian refining margins, Energy Aspects, a researcher, said in report this month.

"As more cars hit the road during summer, refineries enjoyed decent gasoline-refining margins, encouraging them to raise runs," Gao Jian, an analyst with SCI International, a Shandong-based energy consultant, said by phone before the data were released.

The increase in refining runs in August also coincided with a jump in China’s net-exports of oil products to the highest since October, signaling weakening domestic demand for other fuels such as diesel. The country’s industrial output rose 6.1 percent last month from a year earlier, the NBS said Sunday, below the 6.5 percent median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

China produced 18.17 million tons of crude oil and 10.4 billion cubic meters of natural gas last month, Sunday’s data show. Power output was at 515.5 billion kilowatt hours and coal production at 308.6 million tons.

— With assistance by Jing Yang

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