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China Oil Demand in June 2012

Source: OPEC 7/7/2012, Location: Asia

Since China’s economic boom is slowing slightly, its oil demand is expected to follow suit and ease. China’s oil demand is expected to grow, but not at the same rate that was forecast earlier in the year. And this trend is not confined to this year, but also to the medium term.

Nevertheless, transport fuel will show some strength in the upcoming years. This move has come about despite the government’s policy to curb new car registrations in major cities, as a result of huge traffic jams and pollution. In fact, the government is placing a cap on the number of conventional vehicles that will be registered per month. In order to ease the pressure of increasing fuel prices, the government is also subsidizing fuel for the public transport fleet. Due to slowing economic activity, Chinese oil demand grew by a moderate 2.7%, or 260 tb/d, y-o-y in April, to average 9.9 mb/d. The country’s second-quarter oil demand growth is forecast at 0.45 mb/d y-o-y.

Data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers shows that the country’s automobile sales grew by 12.5% in April y-o-y, although overall sales for the first four months of 2012 rose by a slight 1.9%. This slowdown has been attributed to a number of factors, such as the end of tax-incentives for small cars and the authorities' efforts to combat traffic-congestion in major cities. At present, more and more automakers have begun to tap into new business: Changan Automobile has put 100 ‘E30’ pure-electric taxis into pilot operation in Beijing’s Fangshan district; and Chery, Zotye and Beiqi Foton are also working at full throttle to exploit the potential of electric taxis.

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