Freshly-released headline import stats show China’s crude imports finished 2022 strongly. December’s 11.37mn b/d was down fractionally on November but still the year’s third highest figure.

For 2022 as a whole, imports averaged 10.21mn b/d, down 100,000 b/d on 2021 and some 650,000 b/d below the record figure of 10.86mn b/d set in 2020 as China took advantage of a collapse in international prices to fill its crude stocks (see chart). (CONTINUED - 304 WORDS)