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13

China Oil Import Rises

The International Energy Agency said earlier this month that China's rapid oil demand growth...

China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, imported 8.2 percent more crude oil in May than a year earlier, while imported of refined petroleum products fell sharply, official figures showed, Xinhua agency reported.

China imported 10.41 million tons of crude oil last month or 2.45 million barrels per day (bpd), equivalent to the average for 2004 and down sharply from around 3 million bpd in April, signaling that demand could be slowing.

Refiners kept processing rates high through the month, taking advantage of strong export markets and cutting costly imports of refined oil products.

Imports of light diesel fell 91.6 percent to 25,313 tons compared with the same period of 2004, while fuel oil shipments slid 40.7 percent to 1.61 million tons, the General Administration of Customs said.

Shipments of gasoline ? China's largest single product export category ? were up 47 percent at 671,754 tons while exports of diesel soared 141 percent compared with the previous year to 132,476 tons.

The International Energy Agency said earlier this month that China's rapid oil demand growth contracted in April as refiners ran down stocks and cut petroleum product imports. It shaved its demand growth estimate for the year by 10,000 bpd to 7.1 percent.