March 24, 2020 / 3:07 AM / 7 days ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-China's Jan-Feb gasoline exports surge 32% as virus dents domestic demand

 (Clarifies the 41% increase in refined fuel usage in paragraph
11 is on a daily consumption basis, not monthly basis)
    BEIJING/SINGAPORE, March 24 (Reuters) - China's gasoline
exports in the first two months of 2020 surged 31.5% from a year
earlier as the coronavirus outbreak dented demand for fuels in
the country.
    Gasoline shipments in January and February jumped to 2.72
million tonnes, data from the General Administration of Customs
showed on Tuesday. Diesel exports rose 3.5% to 3.47 million
tonnes. 
    Customs did not separate out the data for January and
February.
    The coronavirus outbreak, which originated in the central
Chinese city of Wuhan and has infected more than 80,000 people
across mainland China, prompted authorities to impose travel
restrictions and to extend the Lunar New Year holiday to rein in
its spread.
    China National Petroleum Corp's (CNPC) research institute
has estimated refined oil product demand will fall 35.7% in the
first quarter compared to a year ago, leading to a surplus of
27.08 million tonnes in the local market.
    CNPC, Asia's top oil and gas firm, said on March 19 its
refined oil sales in February fell 45% year-on-year.
    China's jet kerosene exports jumped 21.1% to 2.93 million
tonnes in the first two months, the customs data showed.
    Exports likely rose as travel restrictions cut demand.
China's aviation fuel sales plunged 64% in February from a year
earlier to 860,000 tonnes, a person with direct knowledge of the
matter said on March 20.
    "Refined oil exports in March will drop sharply from January
and February level as fuel demand overseas is also lukewarm amid
the spread of the coronavirus," said Wang Zhao, an analyst at
Sublime Information Co, adding jet kerosene will be hit the
hardest.
    China's domestic fuel consumption is picking up as
authorities are easing travel restrictions and companies are
resuming operation.
    CNPC's research arm forecasts Chinese refined oil
consumption, including diesel, gasoline and jet fuel, will rise
in March by 41% on an average daily consumption basis from
February, reaching a monthly total of 21.19 million tonnes.
    But, March consumption would still be 19.1% lower than a
year earlier, and April consumption will remain lower. 
    Chinese consultancy JLC expects refined oil exports in April
at 5.29 million tonnes, down 0.6% on year, with gasoline exports
up 38.8% and diesel exports down 16.6%.
    The customs data also showed that imports of liquefied
natural gas (LNG) rose 2.3% to 11.13 million tonnes over January
and February.
    CNPC's listed arm PetroChina suspended some natural gas
imports as a seasonal plunge in demand adds to the impact on
consumption from the coronavirus outbreak.
    Below is the latest customs data on fuel exports in millions
of tonnes and imports of LNG in millions of tonnes. 
    
 Exports                 
 Products     Jan-Feb       y/y%
                           change
 Gasoline       2.72        31.5
 Diesel         3.47        3.5
 Jet fuel       2.93        21.1
 Imports                      
 LNG           11.13        2.3
    
    

 (Reporting by Muyu Xu in Beijing and Chen Aizhu in Singapore;
Editing by Richard Pullin and Christian Schmollinger)
  
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