Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- China’s growth in oil processing fell in the third quarter as fuel demand increased more slowly in the world’s biggest energy consumer, the National Development and Reform Commission said today.
The nation turned 99.7 million metric tons of crude oil into fuels in July through September, an increase of 1.2 percent from a year earlier, the top economic planning agency known as NDRC said today in a statement on its website, citing preliminary data. That compares with 3.3 percent growth in the second quarter. Crude refining in the first nine months rose 4.6 percent to 303.4 million tons.
China’s economic growth slowed to 9.3 percent in the third quarter from 9.5 percent in the second, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. Fuel demand expansion has started to slow because of narrowing growth in car sales, NDRC said in the statement.
Fuel demand, measured by domestic production plus net imports, rose 3.2 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier to 62.1 million tons, NDRC said. This compares with 5 percent growth in the preceding three months, it said.
Consumption of fuels including gasoline, diesel and kerosene increased 5.7 percent to 180.4 million tons from January through September, NDRC said.
Fuel inventories at the end of September fell to 11.5 million tons from 15.6 million at the end of February, NDRC said.
China’s natural gas demand rose 20 percent from a year earlier in the first nine months to 93.7 billion cubic meters, NDRC said in a separate statement on its website.
The country imported 22.5 billion cubic meters of gas in the period, comprising 11.2 billion as liquefied natural gas and 11.3 billion of piped supplies from Central Asia, NDRC said.
Domestic gas production increased 7 percent from a year earlier to 74.4 billion cubic meters in January to September, according to the NDRC.
--Chua Baizhen. Editors: Mike Anderson, Alex Kwiatkowski
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