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China's September oil refinery throughput surges to record daily rate

(Reuters) - China's oil refinery throughput in September hit a record daily rate, data showed on Wednesday, up 12% from a year earlier as refiners increased run rates to cater for strong demand for transport fuel over the Golden Week holiday and improving manufacturing.

Total refinery throughput in the world's second-largest oil consumer was 63.62 million metric tons last month, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.

That was equivalent to 15.48 million barrels per day (bpd), the highest on record. Processing rates rose month-on-month from August's 15.23 million bpd, which had been the highest on record.

Run rates were particularly strong at state-owned refiners, analysts said before the data was released.

Refiners had been widely expected to build stocks ahead of the Golden Week travel period, which started at the end of September and ran through the first week of October.

Domestic travel over the holiday was resurgent, with 826 million trips made within mainland China, up 71.3% from a year ago and 4.1% higher than in 2019, according to data released by the Xinhua state media outlet.

International travel picked up to 85% of pre-pandemic levels, according to data from the National Immigration Administration, helping to drive demand for jet fuel.

Improving manufacturing activity in September will also have supported demand for fuels such as diesel. The September manufacturing PMI edged up to 50.2, above the 50-point level demarcating a contraction in activity from expansion.

Customs data last week showed solid crude imports into China in September, which though down month-on-month were still well above 2022 levels.

The NBS data also showed that domestic crude oil production in September was 16.87 million metric tons, or 4.1 million bpd, up 0.3% from 16.8 million tons in 2022.

Natural gas production was up 9.3% from a year earlier to 17.9 bcm, from 16.4 bcm last year.

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