BEIJING, Aug 12 (Reuters) – China’s implied oil demand fell in July from the previous month amid a continuing drop in the nation’s vehicle sales that could mute growth further in the second half of 2015.
China consumed roughly 10.12 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil in July, down more than 4 percent from June, although the implied use was up from 9.72 million bpd a year ago, according to calculations based on preliminary government data.
The month-on-month fall came as Chinese auto sales dropped 7.1 percent in July from a year earlier, the fourth straight monthly decline and biggest since February 2013, according to an industry association on Tuesday.
Daily implied oil demand is the sum of domestic refinery throughput and net imports of refined products, not counting adjustments for inventory changes.
China’s weakening yuan could also draw down oil demand growth, although the diminishing purchasing power of the currency might only slow strategic reserve stockpiling of crude oil and not underlying consumption.
The latest throughput and net import figures put China’s implied oil demand in the first seven months of 2015 at 10.39 mln bpd, up roughly 4.6 percent from the same period last year.
The year-to-date growth is running ahead of the International Energy Agency’s latest forecast for Chinese demand in 2015 at 3.2 percent, which it bases on gains in gasoline, jet fuel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) consumption.
The latest figures for implied gasoline demand, not counting inventory changes, were up 8.5 percent from a year ago for June and just 0.2 percent on the previous month, Reuters calculations show. Exports of the fuel are up nearly 15 percent on the year so far.
Reuters will publish more detailed demand calculations later in August, broken down by product and adjusted for estimated changes in fuel stocks based on data yet to be released.
In July, Chinese refineries C-CNREFPROC processed 4.3 percent more crude oil than a year ago at 10.25 million bpd. That was down 2.8 percent from June on a daily basis.
The National Bureau of Statistics will provide a breakdown by refined products later this week.
China’s domestic crude output rose 4.2 percent to 4.26 million bpd in July and recorded 2.4 percent growth in the first seven months of the year, the statistics bureau showed.
Preliminary implied demand for July 2014 was revised up from 9.57 million bpd based on reported and implied revisions to government data.