* Implied oil demand at 9.71 mln bpd in April, up 1.1 pct on
* Jan-April oil demand at 9.9 mln bpd, up 0.4 pct on yr
* April refinery runs at 9.63 mln bpd, up 3.8 pct on yr,
down 2.4 on mth
* April net fuel imports down 72 pct on yr
BEIJING, May 13 China's implied oil demand fell
0.8 percent in April from the previous month to its lowest since
September as refineries scaled back production for maintenance
and continued to export surplus fuel to trim inventories as the
nation's economy slowed.
Chinese investment, retail sales and factory output growth
all disappointed in April by hitting multi-year lows, suggesting
the world's second-largest economy is still losing steam despite
government efforts to shore up activity.
China consumed roughly 9.71 million barrels per day (bpd) of
oil last month, according to Reuters calculations based on
preliminary government data, the lowest level in seven months
and down from 9.79 million bpd in March.
April consumption was up 1.1 percent from 9.6 million bpd a
year earlier, the calculations showed, while for the first four
months of 2014, oil demand climbed just 0.4 percent from a year
ago to 9.9 million bpd.
"A slowdown in Chinese oil demand growth, that emerged
mid-2013, has continued in line with the underlying
macroeconomic trend. Demand for industrial fuels has been
particularly soft," the International Energy Agency said in its
The IEA forecast that China's total oil demand would log an
increase of 348,000 bpd, or 3.4 percent, for the whole of 2014,
according to the monthly report.
Reuters calculates implied oil demand using official
refinery throughput data plus net imports of the main refined
products, excluding changes in fuel stocks, which China rarely
China's daily crude throughput in April fell back 2.4
percent to 9.63 million bpd, from 9.87 million bpd in March,
while rising 3.8 percent from a year ago, data from the National
Statistics Bureau showed.
Crude runs may be capped as refineries have entered the peak
maintenance season. PetroChina Co Ltd shut
its largest 410,000-bpd Dalian refinery for maintenance from
April 10 to late May, industry sources have said.
Other plants conducting maintenance last month included
Sinopec Corp's Changling and Shijiazhuang
refineries, as well as PetroChina's Dagang unit, industry
Net fuel imports in April fell 72 percent from a year
earlier to 79,333 bpd as oil firms kept exporting surplus fuel,
customs data have showed.
China's crude imports rose more than a fifth in April from a
year earlier to a record high of 6.78 million barrels per day
(bpd), helped by higher seasonal demand and indications of
(1 tonne=7.3 barrels for crude conversion; 1 tonne=7 barrels
for fuel conversion)
(Reporting by Judy Hua and Chen Aizhu; Editing by Tom Hogue)