*Chinese crude imports rose 7.3% to a record 10.13mn b/d for 2020 (see chart 1). These gains came despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with China notching up monthly import records of almost 13mn b/d in June and over 12mn b/d in July as the country took advantage of a flood of cut-price supplies to build its strategic crude inventories to record levels (MEES, 8 January).
*Until November the year-on-year increase was much larger – 11M 2020 imports were up 9.4% year-on-year. But December saw volumes slump to 9.10mn b/d, the lowest monthly figure in more than two years, down 2.0mn b/d on November 2020 and 1.6mn b/d on December 2019 (see chart 2). (CONTINUED - 213 WORDS)