The volume of the expected Chinese release of crude oil from its state reserves will be decided according to the country's actual needs, China said on Wednesday, declining to comment if it would be releasing crude in the coordinated effort led by the United States.
"The Chinese side will organise a release of crude oil from state reserves according to its own actual needs," China's foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a daily press conference on Wednesday, cited by Reuters.
China, the world's largest oil importer, is in communication with both oil-producing and oil-consuming nations, the spokesman added. Yet he declined to comment on the U.S. push for major oil consumers—including China—to release crude from their reserves in an attempt to lower oil and gasoline prices.
At the end of last week, China was already preparing to release crude oil from its strategic reserve, Reuters reported, citing the country's National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration.
"We are carrying out the work of releasing crude oil reserves. And for any details related to the releasing, we will put out a statement on our website," a spokeswoman for the Chinese administration told Reuters.
On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden announced that the Department of Energy would release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in a bid to lower high gasoline prices in a coordinated effort with other major oil-consuming nations.
"[T]his release will be taken in parallel with other major energy consuming nations including China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom," the White House said on Tuesday.
Despite the announcement of the coordinated release, oil prices rallied after the U.S. said it would release crude from strategic reserves.
The oil market has largely priced in SPR releases, as last week's slide in prices showed, analysts say, also pointing out that one-off sales from strategic reserves cannot do much to move oil prices significantly lower.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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