(Reuters) – China’s exports of very-low-sulphur marine fuel rebounded 13.22% in July versus June as the country’s merchandise exports recovered, but still stood nearly 9.69% below the year-ago level, customs data showed on Saturday.
Exports of very-low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO), measured mostly by sales from China’s bonded storage for vessels plying international routes, were 1.60 million tonnes, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
That compared to 1.408 million tonnes in June and 1.766 million tonnes a year before. China’s merchandise exports in July grew 18% on the year in the fastest pace this year, an encouraging boost to the economy as its struggles to recover from a COVID-induced slump, but weakening global demand could start to drag on shipments in coming months.
Foreign trade container throughput at eight major Chinese ports rose 14.5% in July, speeding up from the 8.4% growth in June, according to data from China’s port association. But strict COVID measures and rare heatwaves in eastern and southern provinces, where the country’s main export hubs are located, crimped factory output, thus constraining shipments. Weaker-than-expected growth in merchandise imports, up only 2.3% on the year, also capped further growth for the marine fuel. VLSFO exports for the January-July period reached 10.69 million tonnes, down from 11.52 million tonnes in the same period of last year.
Fuel oil imports into bonded storage, including both high-sulphur and low-sulphur products, fell nearly 57.96% on the year to 0.31 million tonnes.
The table below shows China’s fuel oil imports and exports, all in metric tonnes.
The column of exports under bonded storage trade largely captures China’s low-sulphur oil bunkering sales along its coast.
Exports Bonded y/y pct
January 2,329,677 40
February 1,314,684 -3.8
March 1,418,758 -15.5
April 1,217,794 -35.7
May 1,404,540 -9.4
June 1,408,737 -15
July 1,595,021 -9.69
Imports Ordinary Bonded Total y/y pct
Trade storage trade change
January 202,456 620,707 823,163 7.2
February 317,825 547,894 865,720 -11.1
March 415,471 560,420 975,892 4.2
April 360,049 346,856 706,906 -20.4
May 531,450 500,452 1,031,902 -2.6
June 191,636 636,042 827,678 -17
July 432,050 307,723 739,773 -45.95
(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Sam Holmes)