Meanwhile, for the first eight months of 2010, China's apparent oil demand was 282.17 million mt or an average of 8.51 million b/d, up 10.9% from the corresponding period of 2009, Platts data showed.
Chinese refiners processed a total 34.73 million mt or an average 8.21 million b/d of crude oil in August, up 6.7% from a year ago, but down 1.6% from July, according to data released earlier in the month by China's National Bureau of Statistics. Crude imports jumped 13% from a year ago to 20.9 million mt, or about 4.92 million b/d.
"The growth in China's monthly implied oil demand has dropped to single digits since May from the 13% to 18% range seen in the first four months of this year. While this could be partly explained by a low comparison base in the early part of 2009 when the Chinese economy briefly stalled, one cannot ignore the month-on-month decline since July," said Vandana Hari, Asia editorial director at Platts.
"At first glance, the decline in Chinese oil consumption from June's record high of 8.97 million b/d seems counter-intuitive in the face of official data showing acceleration in the country's industrial output, retail sales, and imports in August. But that suggests the current trough in oil demand might be short-lived," Hari said.
Meanwhile, China's net refined product imports surged nearly 76% to 0.81 million mt in August from 0.46 million mt a year earlier. On a month-to-month basis, August imports surpassed July's 0.54 million mt as product exports dropped more sharply than imports.