China’s Daily Oil Refining Falls to Lowest in Four Months

China’s crude processing fell to the lowest level in four months in February as the nation celebrated the week-long Lunar new year holiday.

Daily oil-refining volumes in the world’s second-largest crude user dropped to 9.9 million barrels a day last month, according to figures from the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing. That’s the lowest since October. January processing was at about 10.1 million, combined data for the first two months of the year show.

China’s factories slowed or halted activity during the Lunar new year holiday from Feb. 9 to Feb. 15 as travelers went back to their hometowns to celebrate with their families. Crude processing in the first two months of 2013 rose 3 percent from the same period in 2012.

The nation’s crude output climbed 0.8 percent to 16 million tons last month, while natural gas production gained 5.2 percent to 9.57 billion cubic meters, today’s data show. Gasoline output soared 13 percent to 7.9 million tons, and diesel production fell 2.7 percent to 13.6 million tons.

China’s apparent oil demand, or domestic crude processing plus net imports, was 10.2 million barrels a day, the lowest since October, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The figures was up 4.4 percent from a year ago.

China’s biggest oil refineries cut their average operating rates by 4.5 percentage points from two weeks ago to 83.7 percent as of March 7 because of refinery maintenance, Oilchem.net, a Shandong-based industry website, said last week.

— With assistance by Jing Yang

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