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Chinese Crude Imports Resurgent in June Bolstering Stockpiles


China’s crude import strength remained in June despite signs of economic weakness as China has bolstered its domestic crude stockpiles.

  • China pulled in around 12.5mn bpd of crude in June, the third highest on record according to Refinitiv.
  • Imports were up 6.2% to the equivalent of 11.13 million bpd in the first five months of 2023 from the same period last year, according to official customs data.
  • China has been boosting inventories so far in 2023, with an estimated 730,000 bpd added in the first five months, with a massive 1.77 million bpd being added in May according to Refinitiv.
  • The stockpiles give Chinese refiners options if crude markets begin to tighten. Imports have shown that Chinese refiners are still motivated to buy at sub $80/bbl crude.
  • Vortexa also observed Chinese stock builds on what is has recorded as the second highest month of imports on its records in June (see chart).
  • Shandong crude imports rebounded as authorities reallowed Venezuelan crude oil to be imported as diluted bitumen which helped to support the rebound.

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