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China Oil Imports Surged

China's imports of crude oil jumped in January to May, driven by the country's economic growth

China’s imports of crude oil jumped in January to May, driven by the country’s double-digit economic growth while growth in oil output almost stagnated in the period, state media said Tuesday.

Bolstered by its blistering economic growth, net imports of crude by the world’s second largest oil consumer rose 11.5 percent to 65.8 million tonnes in the five months, the China Securities Journal reported. However, the country’s own oil production during the period rose only marginally by 1.7 percent to 77.5 million tonnes, the newspaper said.

With domestic oil reserves drying up, China is having to look for energy resources overseas to fuel its voracious economy that expanded 10.7 percent last year, marking a fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth. From January to May, it imported 67.4 million tonnes of crude, up 9.6 percent while exports dropped 36.6 percent to 1.6 million tonnes, the China Securities Journal said.

Analysts attributed the slump in crude exports during the period partly to an export duty of five percent imposed since November 2006, the report said, as Beijing tightened curbs on the outflow of natural resources.