Oil Market Draws Strength From China's Crude Binge As It Nudges Refiners To Bump Up Fuel Shipments

China has bought millions of oil barrels in a late buying spree in the wake of refiners planning to increase fuel exports through the end of the year, reported Bloomberg.

Some of the nation’s biggest buyers have bought at least 10 million barrels since late last week from the Middle East, West Africa and Brazil, the report added citing traders. The trading arms of top state-owned oil companies China National Petroleum Corp. PCCYF, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. SNPMF and China National Chemical Corp. have been among the buyers, the report added.

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Price Action: Optimism over Chinese demand has reflected in a key oil market indicator with the premium of Oman crude futures on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange over Dubai swaps strengthening to $4.42 a barrel on Wednesday, the report said. The United States Brent Oil Fund BNO closed 1.01% higher, while the Vanguard Energy Index Fund ETF VDE closed 0.31% higher on Thursday.

The report further noted that China has nudged refiners to ship as much fuel as possible by the end of 2022 after allocating a new export quota for oil products including diesel and gasoline. According to traders, upbeat seasonal demand for diesel has also increased overall profit margins for processors.

Expert Take: Xia Wenhong, an analyst with industry consultant OilChem, said during a webinar last week that refinery operating rates may rise by 4-5% in the final quarter compared to the previous three months, according to the report.

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