If you were looking for a bright spot in China’s dismal trade numbers for August, your eyes may be tempted to focus on crude oil imports.
A total of 26.59 million tonnes, equivalent to 6.26 million barrels per day (bpd) were imported, according to customs data.
While this was a 13.4-percent drop from July’s 30.71 million tonnes, it’s worth bearing in mind that July was the record high in terms of tonnes and some pullback was always likely. August’s imports were up 5.6 percent from the same month last year.
What’s more important is that crude imports are up 9.8 percent in the first eight months of the year compared to the same period in 2014, at 220.67 million tonnes, or about 6.63 million bpd.
A gain of almost 10 percent looks quite healthy, when viewed against other major commodity imports, with iron ore down 0.2 percent in the first eight months, coal a massive 31.3 percent drop and unwrought copper 8.1 percent lower.
While the decline in coal imports can be blamed on a combination of tighter quality standards, better availability of domestic coal and switching to other forms of power generation, the weakness in copper and iron is largely viewed as a direct reflection of the loss of growth momentum in the Chinese economy.