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According to the official data from the General Administration of Customs released on Tuesday, the crude oil imports from the world’s second-largest oil consumer, China, rose 4.5% on an annualized basis in March.

The domestic refiners took advantage of the crash in oil prices and stocked up supplies amid falling domestic demand due to the coronavirus impact.

Key details

“China, the world’s top crude oil importer, took in 41.1 million tonnes of oil. That is equal to 9.68 million barrels per day (bpd).

The official March figure in bpd compared to an average of 10.47 million bpd for the first two months of the year. Imports in the first quarter rose 5% from a year earlier to 127.19 million tonnes, equal to 10.2 million bpd.

Independent plants, also known as “teapots”, started cranking up production rates in March, as a plunge in oil prices triggered by the Saudi-Russia price war boosted margins.”