Relevance up to 09:00 2022-01-19 UTC+00
With reference to statistics from Beijing, Reuters reported that China’s crude oil imports declined by 5.4% year on year for the first time in two decades.
According to the report, the reason for the decline was Beijing’s desire to reduce excess fuel.
The government also took tough measures against the independent oil refining sector for violating environmental laws, violating the tax code, and illegal trading in import quotas.
Nevertheless, according to Kpler data cited by Bloomberg last week, imports from Venezuela and Iran, which are subject to sanctions, actually increased. This is despite the fact that the total volume of crude oil imports fell last year.
Bloomberg also said that exports increased by 53%, and the total volume reached 324 million barrels of Venezuelan and Iranian oil, which is the highest since 2018.
The total oil imports to China in 2021 amounted to 512.98 million tons, which is about 10.3 million barrels per day. This is less than 542.39 million tons in the previous year.
China has been the world’s largest oil importer for seven years since it began allocating import quotas to private refiners in 2015.
Since then, the country has accounted for 44% of the growth in global oil imports and has been a major driver of oil price movements. Over the same period, China’s import rates have averaged 10% annually.
This leading role of China in the oil markets has made them vulnerable to any shocks in the country. Currently, the potential for such shocks is significant. As Simon Watkins wrote in a recent article, the growing debt bubble and economic slowdown pose a double danger to the Chinese economy, which will have immediate and potentially serious consequences for the global oil market.
*The market analysis posted here is meant to increase your awareness, but not to give instructions to make a trade.
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