China keeps steady crude oil imports

Chinese crude oil imports in February rose 10.9% on year to 6.03 million barrels per day, according to the General Administration of Customs. The country's crude oil imports have increased by two digits from a year ago in three consecutive months.

The February's import figures were 18.1% lower than the previous month when scored the record high of 6.65 million bpd. But still remained above the 6 million bpd level.

The average crude oil imports during January and February rose 11.5% from the same period a year ago to 6.36 million bpd.

In February, China recorded the first trade deficit since March 2013 due to the slump of exports. The amount of processing trades in the month also slipped to the lowest level since February 2011. Those data suggest that industrial activities in China is slowing down.

China, however, maintains steady crude oil procurements. The country seems to be optimistic for the near term energy demand.

On the other hand, commercial crude oil stockpile in China as of the end of January had increased 3.6% from a month ago. It was the first increase since September 2013. It is also possible that the Chinese petroleum industry only began to stockpile toward the summer.

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