February 28, 2018 / 8:06 AM / 10 months ago

Japan Jan oil product sales hit lowest for month in 30 years

A gas station worker fuels a vehicle in Tokyo August 26, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s total oil sales fell to their lowest in at least three decades for the month of January, data showed on Wednesday, amid a continued decline in consumption due to a shrinking and ageing population and a shift to alternatives such as natural gas.

Total oil sales last month fell 1.7 percent from a year earlier to 3.26 million barrels per day (bpd), or 16.08 million kilolitres, monthly data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) showed.

That marked the lowest for the month of January in data that’s available since 1989, a METI official said.

Kerosene sales rose nearly 4 percent last month from a year earlier as temperatures were colder than normal for a fourth straight month, while sales of gasoline and some other fuels fell reflecting a trend of weakening sales in the country, the official said.

Japan’s crude oil imports in January fell 1.1 percent from a year earlier to 3.42 million barrels per day (16.86 million kilolitres), the lowest for the month since 2016, the official added.

Japan imported Bakken crude from the United States and Temane condensate, used for petrochemicals, from Mozambique for the first time last month, the official said.

Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Kim Coghill and Gopakumar Warrier

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