China's crude oil imports hit a record high in 2003 and are expected to continue rising in 2004 on the back of the expanding economy.
Crude oil imports rose 31 percent year-on-year, totalling 91.1 million metric tons, according to statistics released by the General Administration of Customs. In December of last year, crude imports rose 22% over November to 9.3 million tons.
China-based oil traders are expecting crude imports in 2004 to rise 10 million to 20 million tons over 2003, boosted by demand from manufacturing and transportation sectors. Car sales in 2004 are also expected to increase 20% from 2003 to 5 million units, adding to oil demand.