* Nov demand at 9.94 mln bpd, highest in five mths
* Jan-Nov demand 9.76 mln bpd, up 2.3 pct on yr
* Nov crude runs 9.77 mln bpd, -0.6% on yr, +1% on mth
By Judy Hua and Chen Aizhu
BEIJING, Dec 10 China's implied oil demand rose
1.5 percent in November from the preceding month to a five-month
high, as two major refineries restarted after an overhaul, but
full-year growth is heading for the weakest rise in at least
Fuel demand in the world's top net oil importer fell 5.1
percent to 9.94 million barrels per day from a year ago,
according to Reuters calculations based on preliminary
The slowdown in consumption in China, which has driven
global oil demand growth for most of the past decade, has helped
keep oil prices in check despite a plunge in exports by more
than half from OPEC member Iran due to sanctions and prolonged
outages in Libya.
Softer Chinese demand just as the consumption outlook in the
West remains weak may weigh on oil if Iranian exports recover
following a recent breakthrough nuclear deal with world powers.
For the first 11 months of 2013, China's implied oil demand
rose 2.3 percent to 9.76 million barrels per day, down from 4.5
percent growth last year and the lowest growth rate since at
"Domestic demand continued to lack momentum due to economic
restructuring. The fast growth in oil demand over the previous
years won't be repeated this year or next," a researcher at oil
and gas producer China National Petroleum Corp said.
China's industrial output rose 10.0 percent in November from
a year earlier, slightly below market expectations, while retail
sales were up a stronger-than-expected 13.7 percent, data showed
Implied demand is calculated by adding national crude oil
throughput and net imports of refined oil products, ignoring
stockpile changes, which are seldom disclosed by the government.
In its November report, the International Energy Agency
(IEA) cut its growth forecast for China's oil demand to 3.8
percent from 4.0 percent for this year, and reduced its forecast
to 3.7 percent for 2014 from 3.9 percent.
"Continued concerns about the sustainability of the Chinese
banking sector, and official confirmation that the IMF has
reduced its projections for Chinese economic growth, have curbed
oil demand forecast for both 2013 and 2014," the IEA said.
China's oil demand is expected to rise an average 3.8
percent a year in 2014 and 2015, a senior researcher at top
Asian refiner Sinopec said last month, with demand for
transportation fuels being a main factor.
STEADY CRUDE RUNS
Refinery crude throughput in November was 40.17 million
tonnes, or 9.77 million bpd, down 0.6 percent from a year
earlier, but up 1 percent from October, data from the statistics
Sinopec's 400,000-bpd Maoming refinery in the southern
province of Guangdong and 240,000-bpd Fujian refinery in
southeastern Fujian province gradually restarted since
mid-November after more than a month of maintenance.
A pipeline blast late last month believed to be caused by a
crude oil leak from an aging Sinopec-owned pipeline in east
China forced a three-day halt at a main crude oil terminal and
forced several refineries to cut runs.
Sinopec may have raised throughput at other plants to
compensate for production losses at the blast-affected plants,
Chinese traders have said.
PetroChina has pushed back again the start-up of
its greenfield 200,000-bpd refinery in southwest Sichuan to an
unspecified date, as the project stills awaits final government
clearance, two company sources said.
China's net fuel imports stood at 0.71 million tonnes in
November, up 39 percent from 0.51 million tonnes in October, but
down 47 percent from a year earlier.
China's commercial inventories of refined oil products fell
for a fourth month in a row in October as domestic demand picked
up and fuel exports rose, the official news agency Xinhua have
Commercial crude oil inventories also fell 1.84 percent at
the end of October from a month earlier, it said, after rising
about 10 percent in the previous two months.
(Editing by Ed Davies)