China’s crude oil imports rose 2.1%  month-on-month (MoM) in September as delayed cargoes finally cleared customs and onshore storage capacity was increased, according to Reuters.

China, the world’s top crude oil importer, took in 48.48 million tonnes of oil last month, equivalent to 11.8 million barrels per day (mmbbl/d). That compares to 11.18 mmbbl/d in August and 10.04 mmbbl/d in September 2019.

As of the first three quarters of 2020, crude imports are up 12.7% as compared with 2019 in the same time period. However, this figure can be attributed to China taking advantage of the record-low oil prices during the pandemic.

Chen Jiyao, head of China client advisory with consultancy FGE, said, “Port operations should continue at high capacity in the near term. This coupled with reduced inbound flows of fresh cargoes should further draw down floating storage in the coming weeks.” 

This said, China’s fuel demand having already peaked as global oil prices rebound, refineries are struggling with swelling stocks of refined products and poor refining margins.