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China Crude Imports Rise

China Crude Imports RiseChina Crude Imports Rise

China’s crude oil imports recovered slightly in July after falling in the previous two months, but were still among the lowest this year due to a drop-off in demand from the country’s smaller independent, or “teapot”, refineries. According to Reuters, crude shipments came in 8.48 million barrels per day last month, up from 8.18 million bpd a year ago, and just up on June’s 8.36 million bpd, data from the General Administration of Customs showed. However, July imports were still the third lowest so far this year. "The slight pickup likely reflected some teapot plants returning from maintenance, while refining margins also improved thanks to higher domestic fuel prices," said James Gao of consultancy China Sublime Information Group. But overall, independent plants were under pressure from thinning margins since March following a new government tax regulation and near four-year high oil prices, with one plant having already declared bankruptcy. Independent refiner Shandong Haiyou Petrochemical Group filed for bankruptcy in late July and its crude processing units have been shut indefinitely. State-owned refineries, however, are maintaining robust refining margins, as they dominate the retail market.

 

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