China’s first-half gasoline exports drop 42% as June overseas sales halve

China’s gasoline exports in June halved from a year earlier, leading to a 42% drop in overseas sales for the first six months of 2022, as the country sticks to its policy of limiting fuel exports despite slowing domestic demand, data from China Customs showed on Monday.

China exported 730,000 tons of gasoline last month, according to data from the General Administration of Customs, compared with 840,000 tons in May and 1.45 million tons in June last year.

Diesel exports last month were 330,000, down from 120,000 tonnes in May, but still a fraction of the 2.36 million tonnes a year earlier.

Diesel exports for the January-June period totaled 2.06 million tonnes, down 84% year-on-year.

Widespread shutdowns that began in March in Shanghai’s financial and commercial hub to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have hammered local consumption of gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel. Demand only started a modest recovery at the end of May, when mobility restrictions eased a bit.

Last month, total refined fuel exports, which also include fuel oil, were at their lowest level since January 2017 at 3.21 million tonnes.

Exports are expected to pick up as authorities issued new quotas of 5 million tonnes earlier this month for refined fuel exports, following a top-up of 4.5 million tonnes of permits in June, although total releases up to ‘now this year remained 40% less than a year ago.

The new quotas should help reduce high domestic stocks while helping refiners enjoy strong export margins in a tight global market, traders said.

Monday’s data also showed jet fuel exports, including refueling at Chinese airports for international flights, at 520,000 tonnes, down from 810,000 tonnes in May and 910,000 tonnes a year earlier. Since the beginning of the year, exports increased by 14.9% over the year to reach 4.28 million tonnes.

Imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in June fell 26% on the year to 4.82 million tonnes, with purchases since the start of the year down 20.8% compared to l year, with companies avoiding high-priced LNG-AS spot purchases and focusing on forward supplies.

Gas imports by pipeline, mainly from Turkmenistan and Russia, increased by 11.5% year on year to 3.9 million tonnes. Imports in the first six months rose 11.3 percent year-on-year to 22.32 million tonnes, the data showed.
Source: Reuters (report by Chen Aizhu; editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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