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【国际资讯】中国的石油需求将早于预期回弹

发布日期:2020-03-04 点击:

在新冠肺炎病毒爆发迫使政府关闭各城市关口,鼓励市民居家后,中国的燃料需求显著减少。据估计,中国现今燃料需求大约减少400万桶/天。

根据路透社专栏作家克莱德·罗素(Clyde Russell)估计,和一月相比,二月中国原油进口量仍较为平稳,仅减少16万桶/天。而三月,进口到中国这一全球主要石油进口国和作为主要经济增长动力的原油进口量将少于二月,因为当新冠病毒大爆发给国家燃料需求踩下刹车时,二月的大多数原油交易都已经签约,原油也已运往中国。

同时由于一些炼厂会在冬季和夏季之间安排设备维护,这也一同导致三月可能是中国今年原油进口量最少的月份。

据称因为新冠病毒爆发造成中国的炼制需求锐减,中国主要石油供应商和全球最大石油出口国——沙特阿拉伯,在三月将至少缩减50万桶/天的对华出口量。

虽然一些因素表明三月中国原油进口会显著减少,但是有其他原因显示中国石油进口不会断崖式下跌。

诚然,石油需求量减少相当大,包括IEA, EIA, OPEC的在内的所有组织和分析机构,都将其2020年石油需求增长预测数据削减23-40万桶/天,预计今年全球需求增长为100万桶/天,甚至更少。

在新冠病毒爆发前,所有组织机构都认为在中美贸易协议第一阶段和全球经济光明前景下,今年的需求增长将加快速度。

当前新冠病毒临近肆虐边缘,分析家认为经济增长前景会小于预期。市场也担心病毒在中国以外超速传播,将给予经济重击。

如果中国在三月有效地控制住新冠病毒,当局放松财政刺激以助力经济,燃料需求最快在四月就能开始恢复。

因为国内燃料需求低迷,炼厂削减了燃料生产,今年中国原油进口最少的月份将会是三月。新冠病毒开始出现的时候,中国正值传统新年前夕,为一月底,二月初新年时期人们出游做准备,燃料存储量很高。之后病毒大爆发促使当局严格限制旅行,不鼓励出游,造成燃料供应剩余。多余的燃料现在出口亚洲邻国,使成品油涌入本就脆弱的亚洲市场。

维托尔首席执行官罗素·哈迪(Russell Hardy)上周表示,旅行禁令和低迷的经济活动使中国现在减少了400万桶/天的石油需求。

然而这种需求减少不代表中国会缩减等量的原油进口。

事实上,中国不过分削减进口,有两个的坚实理由——这周的油价跌至一年多来的最低点,这鼓励了炼油商投机性买入,为今年晚些时候备货,也使国家能用14个月来最便宜的原油填补其战略性汽油储备。

在各个假设中的未知数是,炼厂和中国有多少存储容量来利用原油价格走低。由于中国库存报告的不透明性,无人能确定中国如果不打算立即加工,能够存储多少的原油。

中国是全球主要的石油需求增长动力。如果能控制住新冠病毒的传播,刺激经济生产,原油进口在三月底就能开始回升。

来源:Oilprice


China’s Oil Demand Could

Rebound Sooner Than Expected

China’s fuel demand has materially weakened after the coronavirus outbreak forced authorities to lock down cities and discourage travels.

Some estimates put the current demand loss in China at around 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of fuel.  

Still, China’s crude oil imports are expected to have held up pretty well in February, slowing by just around 160,000 bpd compared to January import levels, according to Reuters columnist Clyde Russell who cites estimates from Refinitiv Oil Research.

Crude oil imports into the world’s top oil importer and key growth driver would be weaker in March than in February, because most of the February volumes had been contracted, set, and en route to China when the coronavirus outbreak put the brakes on fuel demand in the country.

March could be the month with the lowest Chinese crude imports this year, also because some refiners typically schedule maintenance between the winter and summer fuel seasons.

China’s top oil supplier and the world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, is said to be cutting its crude exports to the world’s top oil importer by at least 500,000 bpd in March because of a slump in refinery demand amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Several factors point to materially lower Chinese crude oil imports in March, but a couple of other reasons also suggest that China’s crude imports will not fall off a cliff.

True, the demand loss is considerable, to the point of having all organizations and analysts, including the IEA, the EIA, and OPEC, slash their oil demand growth forecasts for 2020 by between 230,000 bpd and 400,000 bpd and now expecting this year’s global demand growth at 1 million bpd or less.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, all estimates pointed to demand growth picking up pace this year, thanks to the phase one U.S.-China trade deal and brighter prospects for the global economy.

With the coronavirus on the verge of becoming pandemic, analysts are cutting economic growth outlooks and the markets fear a significant hit to economies as the outbreak now spreads faster outside China than within China.

If China effectively contains the coronavirus in March and authorities loosen their stimulus purse strings to help the economy, fuel demand could begin to recover as early as in April.

The weakest month of China’s crude oil imports this year could be in March because refineries have slashed fuel production amid depressed domestic demand for fuels. The coronavirus came at a time in which fuel stocks were high in China in preparation of the Chinese New Year at the end of January and the beginning of February, when people typically travel a lot. The outbreak imposed strict travel restrictions and travel continues to be discouraged, so China found itself in an oversupply of fuels, which it now exports to neighboring Asian countries, flooding the already weak Asian market with more refined oil products.

Travel bans and lower economic activity cost China 4 million bpd of lost demand at the moment, Vitol’s chief executive Russell Hardy said last week.

This demand loss, however, doesn’t mean that China will be slashing crude oil imports by as much.  

In fact, the world’s top oil importer has two very solid reasons not to slack off imports too much—oil prices trading this week at their lowest in more than a year, which could encourage opportunistic buying by refiners to stock up for later this year and for the state to fill in its strategic petroleum reserves with the cheapest crude in 14 months.

The unknowns in these assumptions are how much storage capacity refiners and China have to potentially take advantage of the low crude oil prices. Because of the opaque nature of China’s reporting of inventories, no one is really certain how much crude oil China could stock up if it doesn’t plan to process it immediately.

China is the world’s top oil demand growth driver and if it manages to soon contain the coronavirus outbreak and stimulate the economy, crude oil imports could begin rising again when March ends.