*China’s crude imports eased to 11.24mn b/d in August, down 900,000 b/d from July and some 1.76mn b/d below June’s record 13.00mn b/d (MEES, 31 July). But the August figure remains high by any sort of historical comparison. Average imports for the first eight months of 2020, at 11.05mn b/d, are up 12.0% year-on-year, a remarkable performance given the Covid-19 pandemic and one that stands in sharp contrast to trends elsewhere in Asia (MEES, 2 October), or indeed globally.
*China has taken advantage of this year’s slump in crude prices to dramatically build up its inventories. These now stand at a record 962mn barrels, according to the latest figures from data intelligence firm Kpler, up from 797mn barrels at the start of the year. Stocks have risen in all except one month this year, with no sign of a let up in recent months: 14mn barrels (440,000 b/d) were added to stocks in August and a further 18mn barrels (590,000 b/d) in September, the Kpler data show. Stocks now stand at the equivalent of 95 days’ import cover (based on 2019 import volumes), up from 79 days at the start of the year. (CONTINUED - 916 WORDS)