According to Platts, China's apparent oil demand in November soared 18.7% from a year ago as the country's economic recovery picked up momentum. November's surge in oil demand marked the third straight month that the world's second largest oil consumer posted double-digit yearly growth in oil demand.
Chinese oil demand was estimated to reach 33.67 million mt (8.22 million barrels per day) in November, versus 28.36 million mt a year ago, a Platts analysis of official data showed on December 21.
November oil demand was slightly less than the 33.89 million metric tons (8.01 million b/d) seen in October.
"China has pulled out all the stops this year to be sure that its economy has performed well throughout the global financial crisis. That has had a dramatic impact on oil demand in the country," said Dave Ernsberger, Platts senior editorial director for Asia. "Lifting demand for oil by double-digits month after month was not Beijing's goal when it injected half a trillion dollars into its economy this year, but it was one of the most significant consequences."
The Chinese government's Yuan 4 trillion ($586 billion) stimulus program to boost domestic spending and consumption has resulted in greater use of oil products from naphtha to jet fuel, prompting the International Energy Agency (IEA) to raise its forecast for China's oil demand by about 80,000 b/d on average for both this year and 2010, the agency said in its December monthly report released earlier this month.
Meanwhile, China seemed to be tapping into its inventory to feed the strong crude throughput appetite in November as the government reported a drop in both crude imports and production versus October.
Chinese customs tallied 17.12 million mt (4.06 million b/d) of crude imports last month, down 11.4% from 19.33 million mt in October. Crude production also slipped 3.6% during the comparison period to 15.67 million mt (3.7 million b/d).
The amount of oil products imports last month, at 2.62 million mt, was at its lowest since November 2008, suggesting that the country was looking less to overseas markets to meet domestic oil products requirement.
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