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Crude imports up to historic mark
( 2003-08-12 09:18) (China Daily)

Crude oil imports rose nearly 30 per cent year-on-year in the January-July period, continuing the strong momentum that is likely to push the full-year imports to a historic mark of 80 million tons, traders said.

Imports rose 29.8 per cent year-on-year to 50.6 million tons for the first seven months, although July imports of 6.8 million tons, were below the 7.7 million tons notched in June.

Last year, China imported nearly 70 million tons of crude oil.

During the previous seven months, refined oil products rose to 15.7 million tons, an increase of 56.2 per cent over the same period of last year.

Traders attributed the growth of crude imports to robust economic growth this year, which has spurred refineries to boost crude processing to meet the demands for refined oil products.

And the enlarged prices gap between crude and refined oil products have also stimulated refineries to increase crude processing.

Among the 15.7 million tons of imported refined oil products, more than 90 per cent consist of fuel oil.

Traders said surging electricity demands in coastal regions of South and East China have encouraged demands for fuel oil among small power plants.

But the traders said refined oil imports for the full year are unlikely to surpass the government's quotas of 25.3 million tons.

According to China's commitments to the World Trade Organization, the nation is expected to abolish the quota system for oil imports starting next year.

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