Platts Report: China Oil Demand Grew 8% Year over Year in October

Gasoil Demand Declined

Dec 02, 2015, 19:04 ET from Platts

SINGAPORE, Dec. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- China's apparent* oil demand rose 7.9% in October from a year earlier to 10.97 million barrels per day (b/d), according to the Platts China Oil Analytics report on the latest Chinese government data.

Growth in China's apparent demand was driven by rising demand for gasoline, jet fuel/kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and fuel oil.  Demand for gasoil declined by 3.4% year over year.

China's refinery throughput in October averaged 10.46 million b/d, up 1.6% from a year earlier, data from the country's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed November 11.

Meanwhile, China's net imports of oil products surged 51% year on year to 503,000 b/d in October, driven by strong inflows of LPG, fuel oil and naphtha, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

During the first ten months of this year, China's total apparent oil demand averaged 11.11 million b/d, an increase of 7.5% from the same period of 2014.

Platts China Oil Analytics, an on-line platform for supply/demand and trade data, expects China's oil demand to rise by 585,000 b/d or 5.6% year over year in 2015.

"We are maintaining our view that apparent demand growth in 2016 will ease to under 2% on the back of slowing economic growth momentum," said Platts China Oil Analytics senior analyst Yen Ling Song.


Gasoil is the most widely consumed oil product in China and demand has been hit in the last three years because of declining economic growth.

Apparent demand in October fell 3.4% year over year to 3.37 million b/d.

Stocks of gasoil fell nearly 14% in October from September to an estimated 65.56 million barrels, according to Platts calculations based on Xinhua's China Petroleum Stockpile Statistics.

"The drop in stocks indicates that actual gasoil demand may have been higher than 3.37 million b/d," said Platts Associate Editorial Director for Asia Oil News Mriganka Jaipuriyar.

Up to 70% of the fuel is used in the transport sector while the remainder is used by various sectors, including construction, farming and fishing, industrial heating and to power machinery.

Apparent demand for gasoil rose 2% over January to October to 3.54 million b/d.


Demand for LPG surged 40.2% year on year to 1.35 million b/d. The growth was led by continuing demand for imports from two new propane dehydrogenation plants.

So far this year, apparent demand for LPG has gained 23.3% year over year to 1.24 million b/d. LPG imports over January-October have surged 73.92% year over year to 367,000 b/d.


Apparent demand for gasoline rose 14.6% year over year to 2.7 million b/d with January-October demand rising 11.2% to 2.68 million b/d.

According to Xinhua's China Petroleum Stockpile Statistics, gasoline stocks fell 0.97% year over year at the end of October to 49.62 million, the Platts calculations based on Xinhua's China Petroleum Stockpile Statistics showed.

"With gasoline exports likely to have been maintained at around 160,000 b/d in November and December, apparent demand is expected to have risen to 2.74 million b/d over the two months, bringing year-to-date apparent demand of 2.7 million b/d, a near 10% increase from 2014," Song said.

Fuel Oil

Apparent demand for fuel oil in October rose 13.8% year over year to 821,000 b/d, and demand over January-October rose 16.9% year over year to 948,000 b/d.

Net imports of fuel oil rose 41.5% year over year to 529,000 b/d over January-October, led by a jump in imports of petroleum bitumen blend.

Data from the General Administration of Customs showed that bitumen blend imports in October surged 153.4% year over year.




% Chg

Sep '15

Aug '15

Jul '15

Jun '15

Net crude imports








Crude production








Apparent demand








Sources: China's General Administration of Customs, National Bureau of Statistics, Platts

Month-to-month demand in China is generally viewed to be subjected to short-term anomalies which are of interest and important to note, but often fail to reveal the country's underlying demand trends. Year-to-year comparisons are viewed by the marketplace to be more indicative of the country's energy profile.

*Platts calculates China's apparent or implied oil demand on the basis of crude throughput volumes at the domestic refineries and net oil product imports, as reported by the NBS and Chinese customs. Platts also takes into account undeclared revisions in NBS historical data.

The government releases data on imports, exports, domestic crude production and refinery throughput data, but does not give official data on the country's actual oil consumption figure and oil stockpiles. Official statistics on oil storage are released intermittently.

In view of some significant shifts in Chinese consumption and trade patterns in recent years, Platts has revised its methodology starting July 2015 to include production and net imports of LPG, as well as imports of petroleum bitumen blend, a popular imported feedstock for China's teapot refineries.

Platts has also refined its calculation of exports of jet fuel and fuel oil to exclude international marine bunker sales and aviation fuel delivered to international flights. This also impacts net imports, and hence apparent demand calculations.  

All historical figures used for comparison have also been calculated using the new methodology to ensure consistency.

Platts releases its monthly calculation of China's apparent demand between the 18th and 26th of every month via press release and via its website. Any use of this information must be appropriately attributed to Platts. Platts uses a conversion rate of 7.33 barrels of crude per metric ton, the widely-accepted benchmark for markets East of Suez.

For more information on crude oil, visit the Platts website at For Chinese-language information on oil and the energy and metals markets, visit

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