* Implied oil demand at 9.71 mln bpd in April, hits 7-mth
* Power output falls 6 pct in April from March
* Daily crude steel output hits record, but soft property
(Wraps base metal, steel, power, crude oil run data with
By Fayen Wong
SHANGHAI, May 13 China's crude oil runs, oil
demand and total base metals production unexpectedly fell in
April from the preceding month, with slackening power generation
also fanning concerns that the world's second-largest economy is
not yet on a stable footing.
Although record-high daily crude steel output was a bright
spark in April's output figures, slowing real estate investments
and falling property sales are set to drag on the steel sector
in the coming months, analysts said.
Robust imports and swollen inventories of everything ranging
from copper, coal, iron ore and soybeans have prompted analysts
to warn that the supply of key commodities may outpace demand
and squeeze China's import appetite in the coming months.
Other data released on Tuesday also showed Chinese
investment, retail sales and factory output growth all
disappointed in April by hitting multi-year lows, suggesting the
economy is still losing steam despite government efforts to
shore up activity.
"The figures, taken together with recent import activity,
shows underlying demand is still weak, which means demand for
commodities is going to ease as end-users take time to digest
existing stocks," said Lian Zheng, an analyst at Xinhu Futures
Zheng said slowing demand for social financing in April also
suggests China's demand for commodities import will fall.
Social financing, a broader measure of credit creation that
includes bank loans, bonds and "shadow bank" lending, is a key
driver for commodities demand as companies would use imports as
a route to get cheaper loans overseas.
China's daily crude throughput in April fell 2.4 percent
from the preceding month to 9.63 million barrels per day (bpd),
while implied oil demand hit the lowest in seven months as
refineries scaled back production for maintenance and continued
to export surplus refined fuel to trim inventories.
POWER SECTOR, PROPERTY
The strength in China's commodities import has largely
overshadowed the strength of the broader economy, in part
supported by financing demand and state stockpiling.
Reflecting cooling economic activity, China's power
generation fell 6 percent in April from the prior month, even
though plants normally crank up production ahead of a seasonal
rise in demand.
Power output in the world's top consumer was 425 billion
kilowatt hours (kWh) in April, data from the National
Statistical Bureau showed.
Lacklustre demand for power is set to weigh on China's steam
coal imports and prices, with the market already dogged by
oversupply and stiffer competition from renewable energy, such
Rising hydropower generation in the second-quarter will also
put a lid coal consumption by the power plants.
Total base metals production in April rose 4.3 percent from
year ago to 3.4 million tonnes, data showed. However, output was
down about 4 percent from March.
China will issue a detailed breakdown of base metals
production data later this week.
Average daily crude steel output hit a record 2.29 million
tonnes in April, as steel mills lifted production to meet
seasonal demand, but analysts said signs of weakness in factory
output and the property sector could feed through later in the
year and hit iron ore demand.
China's real estate investment, which affects more than 40
other sectors from cement to iron ore, grew at a slower annual
pace in the first four months of 2014 while sales continued to
drop from a year ago, official data showed.
Analysts said property investment growth would moderate
further in the coming months as developers are slowing their
pace of expansion amid slack sales.
"The weak property sector, particularly floor space for new
construction, suggests that steel demand will come under strong
pressure in the second half," said Du Hui, an analyst with Qilu
Securities in Shanghai.
(Editing by Joseph Radford and Muralikumar Anantharaman)