Posting 8.79 million barrels per day (bpd), China, the earth’s most populous country bought more crude oil than any other country in the world in the month of June, data obtained from customs showed Thursday.
A total of 36.11 million tonnes of the commodity was imported into the country for the month and the imports were up 17.9 percent from last year, but the shipments were down 2.9 percent from the figure recorded in May, calculations made by Reuters news agency showed.
The strong demand by the country is said to be driven by low oil prices and reported growth in sports utility vehicle sales, according to Neil Beveridge, a senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in Hong Kong.
Declining domestic output is also contributing to stoking appetite for imports.
Weekly US data however showed that Chinese imports compared with average shipments to the United States in June of 7.94 million bpd.
For the first six months of 2017, China shipped in 212 million tonnes of crude, or 8.55 million barrels per day (bpd), up 13.8 percent on the
same period in 2016, according to customs.
Imports had grown to the second highest on record in May, amid concerns over tightening crude supply in Asia as OPEC and other producers extended production cuts to March 2018.
Imports of natural gas in the first six months of the year were up 15.9 percent at 31.09 million tonnes, while imports of refined oil products fell by 2.8 percent to 15.03 million tonnes in the first half of the year, the customs data showed.