China's May gasoline exports fell 45.5 per cent from a year earlier and diesel exports plunged 92.7 per cent despite stalling domestic demand, as companies ran short of export quotas, Chinese customs data showed on Saturday (Jun 18).
China exported 840,000 tonnes of gasoline last month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed, down from 1.55 million tonnes in May 2021 and 980,000 tonnes in April.
Diesel exports sank to 120,000 tonnes from 1.68 million tonnes a year earlier and 530,000 tonnes the previous month.
Widespread lockdowns that began in March in the financial and commercial hub Shanghai to contain the COVID-19 virus hammered local consumption of gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel. Demand only started a modest recovery in late May with some easing of mobility restrictions.
Total refined fuel exports last month, which also include marine fuel oil, were nearly 40 per cent below a year earlier at 3.27 million tonnes, the second-lowest monthly rate since July 2020, earlier data showed.
Exports for the January to May period tumbled 39 per cent on the year as Beijing slashed export quotas to curb excessive domestic refinery production.
The swelling stocks as a result of stagnant fuel consumption prompted the government to issue an additional batch of permits in early June.
Saturday's data showed exports of jet fuel, including refuelling at Chinese airports for international flights, rose to 810,000 tonnes in May from 570,000 tonnes a year earlier, though down from 960,000 tonnes in April.
China's imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) dropped 28 per cent on the year to 4.93 million tonnes, with year-to-date imports down 19.6 per cent as consumers shied away from spot purchases in the face of hefty import costs.
Pipeline gas imports, primarily from Turkmenistan and Russia, jumped 26 per cent on year to a record 4.15 million tonnes, exceeding 4 million tonnes for only the second time after reaching that level in December.
Imports during the first five months were up 11.3 per cent year-on-year to 18.42 million tonnes, data showed.