Chinese crude oil imports have exceeded demand

China imported 23.56 million tonnes or 5.75 million barrels per day of crude oil in November, according to the General Administration of Customs. It was 15.4% higher from a month ago and increased by 0.8% from a year earlier.

Although the country's crude oil imports dropped by 13.8% on year in October, rebounded in the following month. The average imports during three months since September rose 3.7% on year at 5.54 million bpd.

Accumulated crude oil imports in the first 11 months of 2013 was 255.2 million tonnes or 5.6 million bpd, up 3.2% from the same period a year ago.

Crude oil imports by China in this year have increased from the previous year's level despite the country had bought more than its actual demand of crude oil in 2012 in order to fill the newly built strategic petroleum reserve facilities. Current imports seem to exceed the nation's petroleum consumption.

The accumulated domestic crude oil production in China during the first 10 months in 2013 was 173 million tonnes. The total crude oil supply combined with net imports in the period was 426.7 million tonnes, 2.8% higher from a year ago.

Meanwhile, the total crude oil processing volume in January-October rose 4.1% on year to 396.9 million tonnes. Despite the growth of processing was higher than that of supply, volume of supply exceeded processing by nearly 3 million tonnes. The excess seemed to increase commercial crude oil stockpile in China throughout the period.

Commercial crude oil stockpile in China was estimated to have risen by around 1.4 million tonnes in 2010 and 2011. It was seen to have increased by only 0.4 million tonnes in 2012. Therefore, about 3 million tonnes during 10 months are quite higher.

Moreover, crude oil imports in November rebounded. Commercial crude oil stockpiles in China could increase further if the processing volume was not significantly higher in the month.

Energy resources are usually secured based on long-term forecasts. China has increased procurements of petroleum to meet a prediction of its future steady economic growth. However, the volume of procurements seems to begin exceeding the actual demand in the country.

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