China refinery output rises to a record on firmer demand, export margins

(Reuters) – China’s oil refinery throughput in August rose to a record, data showed on Friday, as processors in the world’s second-largest crude consumer kept run rates high to meet summer travel demand and capitalise on strengthening export margins.

Total refinery throughput was a record 64.69 million metric tons last month, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed, up 19.6% from a year ago.

That is the equivalent of 15.23 million barrels per day (bpd), also a record on a daily basis and up from the 12.64 million bpd processed a year earlier when extensive COVID pandemic restrictions and weak domestic fuel demand led refiners to cut runs.

August throughput was also up from July’s 14.87 million bpd.

Year-to-date throughput gained 11.9% from a year earlier to 491.4 million tons, or 14.76 million bpd.

Domestic demand for gasoline and kerosene over the August vacation season was a key driver of domestic fuel consumption, with travel levels likely to be have been further boosted by “revenge travel” after the pandemic, analysts said ahead of the data.

Domestic airline capacity by available seats was around 77.5 million in August, up around 17% from pre-pandemic levels, according to data from aviation analytics firm OAG.

(Reporting by Andrew Hayley and Chen Aizhu; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)