China Oil Demand Growth to Accelerate this Year on Improved Economy: Analysts

January 9, 2013

China's oil demand growth this year will likely be higher than in 2012 on the back of better economic performance, according to a January 8 Platts report.

Apparent demand for oil is expected to grow by 4% to 6% year on year in 2013, versus 3% to 4% in 2012, according to analyst forecasts.

Barclays is expecting oil demand to grow by 5% this year to around 10.4 million b/d, versus 3% expansion in 2012, said Sijin Cheng, a China-focused commodities analyst with the bank.

Cheng said any significant stimulus measures being planned in China will likely only be announced in March, after the National People's Congress meeting. That is when the Chinese government leadership transition will also officially occur.

"Therefore I think we would likely see more rapid growth in the second half rather than the first half of this year," Cheng said.

Chinese investment bank China International Capital Corp. estimates overall demand this year will rise 4.7% year on year to 10.86 million b/d, up from 3.4% growth in 2012, said Janet Kong, managing director of its research division.

"China's oil demand performance is still very notable and will continue to boost growth in the non-OECD as well as globally," she said. "We expect Chinese oil demand to grow by close to 500,000 b/d in 2013 compared with 340,000 b/d in 2012, mainly because of growth in the economy."

CICC forecasts China's economic growth will reach 8.2% this year, compared with 7.7% last year. Industrial production growth is also expected to accelerate by one percentage point this year, which should boost gasoil demand further, Kong said.

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