Chinese imports of crude oil rose 10.8 percent year-on-year over the first four months of this year, due to the country's growing need for resources to fuel the its rapidly economy, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) announced on Tuesday.
Crude oil imports jumped to 54.46 million tons between January and April this year, from a reported 49.15 million tons over the same period last year, according to the GAC report.
The report also stated that oil imports for April soared by 23 percent to a record monthly high of 14.82 million tons.
Over the same period however, China's exports of crude oil fell by 55 percent year-on-year to 1.07 million tons.
China, the world's second largest consumer of oil after the Untied States, has seen a rapid increase in oil consumption as its economy has expanded. According to figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics, last year the country consumed over 320 million tons of crude oil, up 7.1 percent on the year before.
A total of 145.18 million tons of crude oil -- or 45 percent of the total crude consumption last year -- came from imports.
China's increasing demands for oil to feed its fast-growing economy has led to an expansion of its activities in Africa, where over 30 percent of its crude oil imports currently come from. Last year, Angola surpassed Saudi Arabia as China's leading source of oil imports, accounting for around half of the country's imports from the continent. Sudan is also a major oil partner, supplying around 7 percent of China's oil.
Despite the rapid growth in oil imports, China has stressed that it is committed to making its economic development more sustainable. The Chinese government has set a goal of reducing energy consumption by 20 percent per unit of gross domestic product between 2006 and 2010. Energy consumption however, fell only 1.23 percent last year, well short of the annual goal of four percent.
(Xinhua News Agency May 16, 2007)