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China's June diesel exports fall to lowest since September 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s diesel exports in June fell by 50% from a year earlier to the lowest since September 2018 as lockdown measures around the world to halt the coronavirus pandemic continued to curb fuel demand.

China exported 1.04 million tonnes of diesel, versus 1.45 million tonnes in May and 2.07 million tonnes in June 2019, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Thursday.

Gasoline exports were 760,000 tonnes last month, up from a 14-month low of 680,000 tonnes in May.

China, the world’s second-largest oil user, has slashed refined fuel exports since May as refiners turned to the domestic market, where fuel demand has rapidly recovered because of easing coronavirus restrictions.

However, with crude oil refining output rising to a record in June while gasoline and diesel consumption is plateauing, refiners will have a hard time finding markets to absorb excess oil products.

The Chinese summer season, which starts in late June and ends in early September, is typically a slack time for diesel demand as construction projects slow amid heatwaves and fishing activities are suspended.

Recent torrential downpours and severe floods in southern China also lowered fuel demand. Production at some manufacturing plants alongside the Yangtze River, such as personal protective equipment producers and beer breweries, have been disrupted by the rainfall.

China’s jet kerosene exports in June dropped 38% from a year earlier to 770,000 tonnes, compared to 560,000 tonnes in May, customs data showed.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports last month were 5.79 million tonnes, up 29.2% from the same month last year.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Tom Daly; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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