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China Oil Imports Hit Records

China’s February crude oil imports jumped 20 per cent year on year to their highest ever on a daily basis, as prices at their lowest in more than a decades drove buying from a group of new importers and state and commercial stockpiling.The world’s second-largest oil consumer imported 31.80 million tons of crude last month, or a record 8.0 million barrel per day (mbpd), data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed. China’s robust crude demand has been supported by independent refiners, also known as teapots, that have been receiving import quotas from Beijing over the past nine month.“This is the teapot effect,’ said Virendra Chuahan, an analyst at Energy Aspects in Singapore.“Higher teapot demand and stronger refining margins which encouraged higher refinery throughputs have contributed to increased imports,” he said.On a daily basis, February’s imports also jumped roughly 27 per cent from 6.29 mbpd in January.Last week, Beijing-based consultancy SIA Energy said it expects China’s 2016 crude imports to rise by 860,000 bpd, or nearly 13 per cent, boosted by storage needs, robust gasoline demand and fuel exports.The country’s top energy group state-owned China National Petroleum Cooperation (CNPC) forecast in January that the China’s net crude imports reached a previous record of 7.81 mbpd in December, closing out 2015 with an average 6.71 mbpd, according to customs data for the full year.The February volumes were more than a mbpd higher that the final estimate by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts, which had expected more deliveries to spill over into March. March imports are forecast by the Thomson Reuters analyst at under 7 mpbd.

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