UPDATE 1-China's Sept implied oil demand posts first fall in 17 mths
* Sept implied oil demand at 9.61 mln bpd
* Sept demand down 1.8 pct on yr, up 2.5 pct on mth
* Sept crude runs down 1.2 pct on yr to 9.4 mln bpd
* Jan-Sept implied oil demand up 3.5 pct on yr
BEIJING, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Implied oil demand in China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, posted its first yearly decline in 17 months in September as refiners cut crude runs to perform maintenance.
But real demand may have been stronger than the implied figure, which ignores changes in fuel stocks.
"Implied oil demand fell last month, but if you include stockpile changes, real oil demand could have risen 3 to 4 percent in September," said a Beijing-based oil analyst with investment bank China International Capital Corp (CICC).
"The difference is that oil companies restocked fuel last September, but destocked this September as the government urged them to produce cleaner fuels. Lower quality fuels will be banned from sale," the analyst said.
Official data released on Friday showed China's economy grew 7.8 percent in the third quarter, its fastest pace this year and in line with expectations, as firmer foreign and domestic demand lifted factory production and retail sales.
But the recovery could be fragile as the economy was showing signs of slowing growth, a spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics said.
Fuel demand in China, a key driver for global oil markets , fell 1.8 percent to 9.61 million (bpd) in September, the first yearly fall since April 2012, according to Reuters calculations based on preliminary government data.
It was up 2.5 percent from August's 9.38 million bpd.
For the first nine months of 2013, implied oil demand rose 3.5 percent to 9.74 million bpd, according to Reuters calculations, below last year's growth rate of about 4.5 percent, already the slowest in four years.
China could still account for nearly half of global consumption growth of around 790,000 bpd this year, according to the International Energy Agency.
LOW CRUDE RUNS
Implied demand is calculated by adding national crude oil throughput and net imports of refined oil products, but ignoring stockpile changes, which are seldom disclosed by the government.
However, there is evidence that stocks have thinned in recent months.
Fuel stocks fell 5.28 percent in August over the previous month after falling 5 percent in July, according to China OGP, a newsletter run by the official Xinhua News Agency.
Refinery crude throughput fell 1.2 percent in September on a year earlier to 38.65 million tonnes, amounting to 9.4 million bpd, with a number of refineries still in the middle of overhauls during the month.
Analysts expect crude runs to rebound in October as most state-run refineries will have completed maintenance and small independent refineries, known as "teapot" refineries, are also expected to raise their runs after fuel stocks dropped in the third quarter.
China's net fuel imports stood at 0.90 million tonnes (210,000 bpd) in September, 11 times the August rate of 0.08 million tonnes, but down nearly a third from a year earlier. (Reporting by Judy Hua and David Stanway; Editing by Richard Pullin)
- Insight: How U.S. spying cost Boeing multibillion-dollar jet contract
- Exclusive: Secret contract tied NSA and security industry pioneer |
- With Fed out of the way, what's next on Wall Street?
- Yemeni al Qaeda says attack on hospital was mistake
- Insight: For Chinese farmers, a rare welcome in Russia's Far East