China's crude oil imports are expected to surge this year and exports will fall year-on-year as a result of market demand and trade policy adjustments, a leading industry analyst said yesterday.
"Increased crude imports and decreased exports are results of accelerating local economic growth and higher dependence on import energy," explained Gong Jinshuang, a senior analyst at the Economic and Technology Research Institute of China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC).
'Trade policies discouraging oil products and crude oil exports are also crucial reasons behind the phenomenon," added Gong.
He estimated that this year's crude imports will stand at 144 million tons, a rise of more than 10 percent year-on-year. Exports of crude oil for this year are expected to be 5.8 million tons.
Meanwhile, a report from the Ministry of Commerce said that China's 2006 crude imports will total 140 million tons, with exports standing at 7.4 million tons.
Liang Shuhe, a senior official from the ministry, told Xinhua News Agency that robust gross domestic product (GDP) growth had forced China to depend more on imports because of limited domestic production.
The National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic regulator, asserted China's annual GDP could reach 20 trillion yuan (US$2.55 trillion) this year, with a year-on-year growth of 10.5 percent.
According to Gong, China's total crude oil output is expected to hit 184 million tons in 2006, up only 1.8 percent year-on-year. Demand for crude oil for refineries is to be 300 million tons, increasing 5 percent over last year.
The ministry raised the export tariff for crude oil in November to further reduce crude exports, while lowering the import tariff for major energy resources.
(China Daily December 28, 2006)