China's apparent oil demand in September rose 5.1% year on year to 35.53 million metric tons (mt) or an average of 8.68 million b/d, according to Platts' analysis of data from the People's Republic of China. However, September demand is almost unchanged from August's 35.54-million-mt level. Meanwhile, China's apparent oil demand in the first nine months of the year totaled 317.7 million mt or an average of 8.52 million b/d, up 10.25% from the same period of 2009, according to Platts' data.
Chinese refiners processed a total 34.91 million mt or an average 8.53 million b/d of crude in September. This is up 6.35% from a year ago, but just 0.52% higher than August, according to data released by the country's National Bureau of Statistics on Oct. 21. The refiners' collective crude throughput from January to September was 310.74 million mt, 13.48% higher from a year ago. Chinese crude imports in September hit a new historic high of 23.29 million mt, or around 5.7 million b/d.
"The crude available to China in September, including domestic production and net imports, was 40.09 million mt, but the throughput was only 34.91 million mt. So a little over 5 million mt of crude presumably went into storage, the highest in a month so far this year," said Vandana Hari, Asia editorial director at Platts. "At the same time, China's monthly refined product imports continued to come off June's high of 3.64 million mt, while the country stepped up product exports last month. The flattening of implied oil demand in September could be a precursor to an easing of the country's runaway oil demand growth rate for the remainder of 2010."
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