China’s oil demand sees slowest growth

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s oil consumption in 2013 recorded the slowest increase in more than two decades, data showed yesterday, as slowing economic growth rippled through demand for transport and industrial fuels such as diesel.
While a slowdown in oil consumption by the world’s second-largest user was expected, the slow rise could put pressure on global oil prices at a time when the nuclear deal between OPEC member Iran , and world powers increases the possibility that the Middle Eastern nation will be allowed to pump and export. more oil.
China’s energy appetite has driven global oil demand growth over the past decade as usage slows in industrialized countries. Its slowdown in demand last year capped prices that would otherwise have soared due to plummeting Iranian exports, prolonged outages in Libya and disruptions in Sudan.
Implied oil demand from China rose 1.6% in 2013, or 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) on the year, according to Reuters calculations based on preliminary government data and unidentified figures. revised from 2012.
Reuters began calculating implied oil demand from 2005. The waning momentum capped China’s annual economic growth at a six-month low of 7.7% in the October-December quarter, a slowdown according to some analysts that could get worse this year as China endures the short-term pain of revamping its growth model for long-term good.
“China’s oil demand has entered an era of moderate growth,” said an oil analyst at China International Capital Corp (CICC). “Diesel demand was nearly flat last year, but gasoline demand kept growing fast on auto sales rosy.”
The 1.6% growth in oil demand was lower than the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast for 3.8% growth in 2013. This figure is in line with forecasts by the leading company oil company, the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which last week pegged oil demand for 2013 at 1.7%.
CNPC predicted China’s oil demand will grow 4% this year, with gasoline demand the main driver. Implied demand for oil in December was 10.06 mb/d, down 7.5% from the previous year’s record 10.88 mb/d, but up 1.2% from to 9.94 mb/d in November. Full-year consumption was 9.78 Mb/d.
Implicit demand is a combination of crude oil throughput and net imports of refined petroleum products. It also does not adjust for inventory changes, which are rarely disclosed by the government. In its December report, the IEA estimated Chinese oil demand at 10.19 mb/d in 2013, up 370,000 b/d from 2012. The agency projected similar, modest growth for this year, by 3.7% to 10.57 mb/d.
Reuters


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Felix J. Dixon