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China key to oil market pricing as the world's top importer

Price agencies and industry leaders call on Beijing to lift veil on nation’s crude trades

China poses a major obstacle to global oil price transparency as it overtakes the US as the world’s biggest importer of oil. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated that China imported a net 6.3 million barrels a day (b/d) of oil and refined products in September, pushing it past the US to become the world’s top oil importer. Having pushed ahead of the US, the EIA expects China will remain the world’s top importer for the foreseeable future, reflecting its own economic expansion but also the surprising surge in US shale-gas production, which has cut US dependence on oil imports. “It’s an important demarcation line because we know very little about Chinese demand and invento

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