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Citing analysts and trade sources, Reuters reports that China’s crude oil imports are likely to slow down in the third quarter of this year when compared to the record purchases seen in the previous quarter.

Key details

“China imported a record 11.3 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in May, with volumes set to rise in June and July, as cheap crude purchased during an oil price slump in April arrives in the country.

But the world’s top crude importer is expected to receive around 0.8-1.3 million bpd less crude from abroad in August and September than it did in May,

Shipping data from Refinitiv Eikon showed over 50 tankers queued around the oil refining hub of Shandong province on June 18 – double the 22 vessels recorded a month earlier.

But energy consultancies FGE, SIA Energy and Rystad Energy all expect imports to ease off in the third quarter from the second quarter.

China’s crude inventory, however, is expected to hit a historical high of 1.1 billion barrels at the end of June, said SIA Energy. That, along with the slowdown in Chinese oil imports, will likely put downward pressure on global oil prices in a market already hard-hit this year.”

Market reaction

Both crude benchmarks are trading mixed, with WTI losing half a percent amid the API build in crude stocks. Brent gains 0.40% to trade at  $42.50.