SINGAPORE/BEIJING, June 23 (Reuters) - China's gasoline exports fell 64.2% in May from the previous month and hit the lowest level since February 2019, as refined fuel margins weakened in regions hit by the coronavirus and refiners focused on the domestic market where demand was rebounding. Gasoline exports were 680,000 tonnes, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Tuesday, versus 1.9 million tonnes in April and 850,000 tonnes in May of last year. Diesel exports were 1.45 million tonnes last month, down from 2.57 million tonnes in April and a record 2.83 million tonnes in March. But it remains 16.2% higher than the same period last year. China more than halved total fuel exports in May to 3.89 million tonnes from April's 8 million tonnes, according to customs preliminary figures. Data on Tuesday also showed kerosene exports at 560,000 tonnes, touching the lowest level in more than five year. That was down 62.3% from a year earlier and compared to 2.03 million tonnes in April. While refineries have raised crude throughput to near peak rates in May, output of gasoline fell 12% over year-on-year and kerosene dropped a third, in response to weakened demand for the transportation fuels due to measures to curb COVID-19. Fuel oil output, meanwhile, nearly doubled from a year earlier as plants shifted to meet growing demand for the low sulphur marine fuel after the government issued its first quotas to export the ship fuel. Imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) last month were 5.23 million tonnes, 19% up from the same month last year. Below is the latest customs data on fuel exports in millions of tonnes and imports of LNG in millions of tonnes. Exports May y/y Jan-May y/y %change %change Gasoline 0.68 -20.4 7.12 23.3 Diesel 1.45 16.2 10.31 4.1 Jet 0.56 -62.3 7 -2.8 kerosene Imports LNG 5.23 19 25.48 7 (Reporting by Chen Aizhu in Singapore and Muyu Xu in Beijing, editing by Louise Heavens)
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