Chinese refinery throughputs fell by 3.8% to 99.2mn tons (12.07mn b/d) for the first two months of 2020. This is down 5.4% year on year, though given underlying growth of almost 8% for 2019, the figure for Jan-Feb 2020 is perhaps 12% below what could have been expected were it not for the Covid-19 epidemic (see table).

The bulk of this slump in runs likely occurred in February, given that the scale of the epidemic was only becoming apparent in the second half of January with massive domestic travel restrictions introduced late in the month (MEES, 7 February). March figures will also be depressed, though in the last week or so there have been clear signs of refiners increasing runs in response to lower prices and a nascent uptick in demand. (CONTINUED - 279 WORDS)