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China’s crude oil imports in August were 1.1 million bpd lower than the year-ago period and its exports were lower than expected, the latest data suggests.
China imported 9.35 million bpd of oil last month, according to energy analytics provider OilX. That is half a million barrels per day higher than imports in July but 1.1 million lower than imports in August 2021.
Imports from Russia were higher than a month earlier, at 1.8 million bpd, while imports from Saudi Arabia were lower than in July, at 1.5 million bpd.
Refining throughput in August fell to 13.1 million bpd, OilX also said, noting this was 134,000 bpd lower on the month and 800,000 bpd lower on the year.
OilX also reported that oil in floating storage off the Chinese coast has been rising, reaching some 9.7 million barrels at the beginning of this month. Oil cargo loadings for China are also on the rise.
Export data out of Beijing for August, meanwhile, has fallen short of analyst expectations. China reported a 7.1% increase in exports for the month, versus analyst predictions of a 12.8% increase, according to a Reuters poll.
Meanwhile, Covid lockdowns in China continue to pressure oil prices, with Brent crude closing at below $93 per barrel on Tuesday and trading at below $92 per barrel at the time of writing. WTI closed at $86.88 on Tuesday and was trading at $85.49 at the time of writing.
“Energy traders appear to be skeptical of any rallies as they digest a plethora of global economic challenges, a wrath of uncertainty to supplies, and looming crude demand destruction fears,” Oanda senior market analyst Ed Moya told Bloomberg.
The price slide came just a day after OPEC+ announced it would reduce its production target for September by 100,000 bpd in a bid to prop up prices.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com