China Gasoline, Diesel Exports Fall on Peak Refinery Maintenance

  • Diesel drops to lowest since February, gasoline since March
  • Refiners seen slowing shipments as domestic production eases

China’s gasoline and diesel exports tumbled as the nation’s refinery maintenance peaked last month.

The world’s largest energy consumer exported 1.07 million metric tons of diesel last month, a 30 percent decline from July and the lowest since February, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs. Shipments averaged about 257,500 barrels a day. Gasoline exports fell 31 percent the previous month to 670,000 tons, or about 180,500 barrels a day, the lowest since March.

Refiners normally shut units for work between July and September, with August being the peak month, according to Shanghai-based commodities researcher ICIS-China. Gasoline production grew at the slowest pace in 18 months in August while diesel output fell 5.4 percent from a year earlier.

"Refiners should have slowed their overseas shipments as domestic output eased while gasoline consumption improved during summer," Lin Jiaxin, an analyst with ICIS China, a Shanghai-based commodity researcher, said before data were released.

Domestic gasoline demand increased 5.8 percent in July from a year earlier, according to the latest figures from the National Development and Reform Commission. Major Chinese refiners have cut oil processing rates to 70.27 percent as of Sept. 1, the lowest so far this year, according to data tracked by Shandong-based Oilchem.net. Run rates at independent processors fell for three consecutive weeks to 48.76 percent of capacity as of Aug. 25, the lowest level since January, according to Oilchem.

Kerosene exports rose 3.7 percent from the previous month to 1.13 million tons. Liquefied natural gas imports rose to 2.26 million tons, highest since January, while natural gas shipments via pipeline slumped to 1.08 million tons, lowest since January 2012.

— With assistance by Jing Yang

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