China Diesel Exports Jump to Record; Gasoline Shipments Rise

Updated on
  • Diesel exports jump to 1.48 million metric tons in May
  • Gasoline deliveries increase to 780,000 tons, most since Dec.

China’s diesel exports increased to a record in May as easing demand forced refiners to send surplus fuel overseas, while gasoline shipments rose amid swollen stockpiles.

The nation’s outbound diesel shipments jumped to 1.48 million metric tons last month, while gasoline exports increased to 780,000 tons, the highest since December, data from the General Administration of Customs in Beijing showed on Tuesday. Hong Kong received about 20 percent of diesel cargoes, making it the biggest destination, followed by the Philippines. About 60 percent of gasoline shipments went to Singapore.

Domestic diesel consumption has remained weak, with apparent demand falling 8.6 percent from a year ago in April, while its refiners ran at the fastest daily rate on record during the month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The nation’s fuel stockpiles increased 560,000 tons at the end of last month from a year earlier to a level "relatively high," the National Development and Reform Commission said Tuesday.

“China’s high fuel exports are a result of robust oil processing and sluggish domestic demand,” Zhang Bin, an analyst with Shandong-based SCI International, said by phone. “The outbound shipments coming out of independent refineries also helped push up the volume."

China opened up its fuel export market to independent oil refiners late last year, offering them a bigger role in the country’s energy trade after granting them access to imported crude supplies. It has awarded 820,000 tons of fuel export quotas to the so-called teapot refiners so far this year, according to data from ICIS China, a Shanghai-based commodity researcher.

Imports of natural gas by pipeline in May were at 2.03 million tons, the lowest since November, and liquefied natural gas shipments were at 1.43 million tons, the least since September, Tuesday’s data show. Total gas imports dropped to the lowest since September at 3.46 million tons.

— With assistance by Jing Yang

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