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Markets News

RPT-Sinopec posts first half-year loss as coronavirus wallops fuel demand

(Repeats for Asia morning readership. No change to text.)

* Firm logs $3.2 bln loss in H1 versus $4.7 bln profit yr earlier

* Expects full-year capex about 10% lower than planned

* Processed 4.45 mln bpd of crude in H1, targets 5.1 mln bpd in H2

BEIJING, Aug 30 (Reuters) - China Petroleum & Chemical Corp , or Sinopec, on Sunday posted its first half-year net loss on record amid weak fuel demand as the coronavirus hobbled industrial activity and curbed travel.

Asia’s biggest oil refiner said in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange it made a net loss of 21.725 billion yuan ($3.17 billion) for the first six months of 2020 - the only half-year period it has ended in the red in Refinitiv Eikon data going back to 2003.

That compared to a 32.206 billion yuan profit a year earlier and implies a loss of 1.943 billion yuan in the April-June period, far smaller than the first-quarter loss of 19.782 billion yuan.

The company’s “operations and profitability have improved month by month from the second quarter” and its performance has stabilised, Sinopec said.

First-half revenue fell 31% from a year earlier to 1.03 trillion yuan, with refined product sales down 26.1% as the pandemic crippled energy consumption.

“The industry has experienced unprecedented difficulties,” Sinopec said, noting that demand for refined oil had dropped sharply and growth in petrochemical demand had slowed.

Processed crude oil volumes fell 10.5% to 110.95 million tonnes,or 4.45 million barrels per day. The company, which recently launched a new 200,000 bpd refinery in southern China, aims to raise throughput to 130 million tonnes (5.1 mln bpd) in the second half.

Upstream, Sinopec produced 140.27 million barrels (771,000 bpd) of crude oil, down 1% year-on-year, while natural gas production edged up 0.1% to 512.41 billion cubic feet. The firm is targeting output of 138 million barrels and 580.5 billion cubic feet in the second half.

Capital expenditure came in at 44.99 billion yuan, accounting for less than one-third of annual guidance of 143.4 billion yuan. Sinopec said it expects full-year spending to come in about 10% below that target. ($1 = 6.8647 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Tom Daly; Editing by William Mallard

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