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Strategic reserve filling lifts Chinese oil demand

China is using the recent oil price decline to as an opportunity to accelerate filling its strategic petroleum reserve (SPR), providing a boost to the country's sluggish oil demand, analysts say

China's slowing economy has seen oil demand grow at less than 2% through the first nine months of this year, its lowest level since 1990. However, crude import growth is running at more than 8% higher than last year. China's opaque oil data makes it difficult to reconcile the disconnect, but the most likely explanation is that China is using a period of low prices to fill its expanding SPR system. Brent crude prices have fallen nearly 25% from $115 a barrel (b) in June to around $87/b as of 30 October. The theory got some support with the release of China's September trade data. Total crude supply outpaced refinery throughputs, a proxy for actual consumption, by 665,000 barrels per day (b/d

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