China Crude Imports Hit Record

China Crude Imports Hit RecordChina Crude Imports Hit Record

China, the world’s biggest energy user, increased inbound crude shipments in February by 19% from the previous month to 31.8 million tons, according to data from the Beijing-based General Administration of Customs on Tuesday. That is equivalent to about 8.04 million barrels a day, the highest daily average on record, Bloomberg reported. Oil product exports slid a second month to 2.99 million tons, the lowest since May. "The reported crude imports last month greatly exceed our expectations," Gao Jian, an analyst with SCI International, a Shandong-based commodity researcher, said. "Weak international crude prices that fell below $30 a barrel in January may have boosted Chinese refiners’ appetite for imports." The government’s decision not to cut retail fuel prices when oil falls below $40 a barrel has made domestic sales of oil products more profitable compared with exports, according to ICIS China, a Shanghai-based researcher. "The $40 price floor for domestic fuel sales is curbing shipments overseas," Amy Sun, an analyst with ICIS China, said. "Exports will probably remain subdued."