China's oil imports grew marginally in the first half as the country's economy slowed, but may see further growth in the second half as demand improves.
China's oil imports grew marginally in the first half as the country's economy slowed, but may see further growth in the second half as demand improves, said industry insiders. The small growth in oil imports from January to June was largely due to the weak domestic demand. However, oil imports are set to rebound in the second half, said Liu Gu, analyst with Guotai Jun'an Securities in Shenzhen.
However, she pointed out that the revival might not be too fast. "We expect oil imports will see a 1-percent year-on-year growth in 2009."
China imported 90.77 million tons of crude oil in the first half, a 0.3-percent growth year-on-year, according to General Administration of Customs. The country imported 179 million tons of crude in 2008, up 9.6 percent from a year earlier.
China produced 93.49 million tons of crude in the first half, down 1 percent from a year earlier. The country processed 175.13 million tons of crude in the period, an increase of 1.5 percent year-on-year, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). Oil imports in the second half will see more solid growth, compared to the imports in the second half of 2008 which declined sharply due to the global financial crisis, said Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University. It is also important to note that oil imports have already seen month-on-month recovery, said Lin. China imported 17.09 million tons of crude oil in May, the highest this year. The figure saw year-on-year growth of 5.5 percent and month-on-month growth of 5.7 percent. However, in the first quarter, China's oil imports dropped by 10.2 percent from the same period last year. "In my opinion, this year's oil imports may see a 2-percent growth," said Lin.