China's refinery output hits record as margins improve on new taxes

China's refinery throughput rose 4.4% in May from the same month a year ago to a record high, as margins improved on the back of easing supplies of blending stocks after Beijing announced new taxes.

The country processed 60.50 million tons of crude oil last month, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Wednesday, equivalent to 14.25 million barrels per day (bpd).

That compares with 14.09 million bpd in April and a touch above a previous record at 14.2 million bpd last November.

Throughput for the first five months was 292.74 million tons, up 12% from a year earlier.

According to estimates by Shandong-based consultancy JLC, "theoretical" refining margins at independent plants averaged at around 650 yuan ($101.78) a tonne at end-May, the highest so far this year.

Crude throughput was also supported by a resumption of production at state-run refineries following regular overhauls.

The data also showed China's crude oil output in May was 17.03 million tons, or 4.01 million bpd, up 3.5% from a year earlier. Output over January-May gained 2.2% to 82.65 million tons.

($1 = 6.3864 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(crude conversion: ton=7.3 barrels)

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom and Chen Aizhu in Singapore, editing by Louise Heavens)

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