* Crude stocks down for 3rd straight month
* Fuel draws suggest higher oil demand for year
(Adds in the 8th paragraph that IEA data shows oil demand
growth was slowest since at least 1992.)
BEIJING Jan 23 China's commercial refined fuel
stocks rebounded in December as refineries churned up production
after five straight months of drawdowns, official news agency
Xinhua said on Thursday.
Commercial crude oil inventories fell for a third straight
month, however, even though crude imports rose to a record high
during the month.
Refined fuel stocks gained 3.32 percent from end-November,
with kerosene stocks surging 10.79 percent, gasoline stocks up
2.89 percent and diesel stocks up 2.14 percent, Xinhua reported
in its oil and gas newsletter China OGP.
Crude oil stocks fell 0.87 percent in December over the
previous month, Xinhua said.
Fuel inventories had thinned for five months in a row
through November, and prior to that, stocks had dropped for
three consecutive months starting in March, making 2013 a year
of repeated inventory draws.
The OGP newsletter does not provide outright inventory
volumes, and the government rarely discloses levels of either
commercial or strategic oil stocks, making it difficult to gauge
real demand in the world's second-largest oil consumer.
China's implied oil demand - refinery throughput plus net
fuel imports but excluding changes in inventories - rose 1.6
percent in 2013, or a meagre 150,000 bpd, according to Reuters
calculations based on preliminary government data and unrevised
2012 output figures.
That was the lowest calculation for implied oil demand
growth since Reuters started tallying the number in 2005.
According to data from the International Energy Agency, it was
the slowest oil demand growth in China since at least 1992.
The multiple months of fuel stock draws in 2013 suggest real
Chinese fuel demand might have been higher than shown by the
calculations of the implied numbers.
(Reporting by Judy Hua and Chen Aizhu; Editing by Tom Hogue)