China's crude throughputs held largely steady near record highs in August, keeping pressure on refiners to manage high product inventories.
Total crude throughputs were 59.47mn t (14mn b/d) in August, data from China's national statistics bureau (NBS) show. This was down marginally from July's 14.03mn b/d and the all-time high of 14.08mn b/d in June, but up by 9.2pc from 13.75mn b/d in August last year.
Throughputs in January-August averaged 13.2mn b/d, higher by 3.2pc compared with the same period last year.
The third consecutive month of throughputs above 14mn b/d has left gasoline and diesel stock levels at ominously high levels in some parts of the country, after demand was hit by severe flooding in July. State-controlled refineries have been looking to destock since late July but are struggling to balance rising run rates with flat demand.
Inventories at state-run refineries in regions such as northeast and northwest China were around 70-80pc of storage capacity in late August, according to market estimates. Stocks in central and east China, which were hit hardest by the summer rains and floods, rose to highs in July-August.
High domestic inventories are likely to prompt state-controlled firms to raise their product exports in September.
Crude throughputs have stayed largely steady despite month-on-month falls in Chinese crude imports. China imported 11.18mn b/d of crude in August, lower for a second consecutive month after hitting a record 12.94mn b/d in June.
China's domestic crude output rose to 3.92mn b/d last month, up by 2.3pc compared with August 2019 and 1pc higher than July.