Oil industry information firm Platts reported today that Chinese demand for crude oil rose 7.7% in December 2012 to an average of 10.58 million barrels a day, the highest on record. The Platts analyst attributed the sharp rise to refinery expansions and higher seasonal demand for products. Crude oil demand reached 10.5 million barrels a day in November.
The rise in demand is linked to the pickup in China's economy, which grew at a rate of 7.8% in the fourth quarter. And with higher growth forecast for 2013, demand for oil is expected to rise again this year.
In 2012, demand averaged 9.68 million barrels a day in China, up 3.4% over the average for 2011. Demand for gasoline in December rose 16.7% year-over-year to 2.25 million barrels a day. The increase in refinery capacity enabled the country to increase its gasoline exports by 31.6% year-over-year in December.
Platts notes that demand is more accurately called "apparent demand," and is based on refinery throughput volumes and net oil product imports as reported by the government.
Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, China, Commodities, Oil & Gas, Research