China imports more oil from Saudi than any other country in June

Above, tugboats berth an oil tanker at Qingdao port in Qingdao in China’s eastern Shandong province on August 4, 2019. Chinese oil imports from Saudi Arabia rose to 8.88 million tons in June. (AFP)
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Updated 26 July 2020

China imports more oil from Saudi than any other country in June

  • Imports from Saudi Arabia rose to 8.88 million tons in June
  • Analysts expect China to see another record amount of crude imports in July

BEIJING: China’s crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia rose 15 percent in June from a year ago, as refiners ordered record volumes of the fuel in March and April when oil prices tumbled, cementing the kingdom’s position as the top oil supplier to China.
Imports from Saudi Arabia rose to 8.88 million tons in June, or 2.16 million bpd, in June, according to data from the General Administration of Customs on Sunday.
That was in line with May’s volumes, but well above 1.89 million bpd during the same period last year.
The record imports follow a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world’s top oil exporters, during March and April when the coronavirus pandemic dampened demand and caused a global fuel glut.
Shipments from Russia were at 7.98 million tons last month, or 1.95 million barrels per day (bpd), up around 7 percent from 1.82 million bpd in May and 1.73 million bpd in June 2019.
Saudi, however, delivered bigger oil cuts from June and raised crude prices as a plunge in oil prices weighed on the kingdom’s budget.
China, the world’s biggest crude oil importer, took in a record 53.18 million tons last month, according to customs data.
China also boosted inflows from Brazil, Norway and Angola, said Emma Li, analyst from Refinitiv.
Brazil, whose massive offshore projects are coming online, offered Asian refiners competitive deals on relatively high-quality oil just as China and other Asian countries contained the coronavirus and reopened their economies.
Analysts expect China to see another record amount of crude imports in July as some May-loading cargoes are still underway while swelling oil inventory at major Chinese ports slows new arrivals.


Thailand finance minister: economy to recover next year with 4% growth

Updated 23 November 2020

Thailand finance minister: economy to recover next year with 4% growth

  • Economy had bottomed but recovery was not fast as the battered tourism sector hurt supply chains
  • Budget for the next fiscal year will still focus on boosting domestic activity

BANGKOK: Thailand’s economy is expected to grow 4 percent in 2021 after a slump this year and fiscal policy will support a tourism-reliant economy struggling from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the finance minister said on Monday.
Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy shrank a less than expected 6.4 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier after falling 12.1 percent in the previous three months.
The economy had bottomed but recovery was not fast as the battered tourism sector, which accounts for about 12 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), has also hurt supply chains, Finance minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said.
“Without the COVID, our economy could have expanded 3 percent this year, he said. “As we expect a 6 percent contraction this year, there is the output gap of 9 percent,” he told a business forum.
“Next year, we expect 4 percent growth, which is still not 100 percent yet,” Arkhom said, adding it could take until 2022 to return to pre-pandemic levels.
There is still fiscal policy room to help growth from this year’s fiscal budget and some from rehabilitation spending, he said.
The budget for the next fiscal year will still focus on boosting domestic activity, Arkhom said, and the current public debt of 49 percent of GDP was manageable.
Of the government’s 1 trillion baht ($33 billion) borrowing plan, 400 billion would be for economic revival, of which about 120 billion-130 billion has been approved, Arkhom said.
He wants the Bank of Thailand to take more action short term on the baht, which continued to rise on Monday, despite central bank measures announced on Friday to rein in the currency strength.
“They have done that and they have their measures... which should be introduced gradually and more intensely,” Arkhom said.