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BEIJING: China’s diesel exports continued to fall in August, hitting their lowest since May 2015 after the government slashed fuel export quotas in an effort to limit production expansion and reduce emissions from the petroleum industry.

Diesel shipments were 540,000 tonnes last month, down from 1.39 million tonnes in July and lower than a year earlier, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Saturday.

Gasoline exports were 570,000 tonnes, the lowest since February 2019, in August, while jet fuel sales were 920,000 tonnes.

China reduced a second batch of export quotas for refined fuel by 73% year-on-year in early August, forcing state-backed refiners to focus on the domestic market.

Beijing’s hefty new import taxes on key blending fuels and tightening crude oil import quotas are expected to compress fuel production at independent refiners and leave a supply gap for state-run refiners to fill.

August’s crude oil throughput in China dropped to a 15-month-low.

“With the recovering COVID-19 situation and improving domestic fuel consumption, plus the limited fuel export quotas, We expect China’s refined oil exports to continue falling,” said analysts from China-based JLC consultancy in a note.

The data on Saturday showed imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) increased 12.7% on year to 6.65 million tonnes in August, supported by robust industrial demand and increasing use at power generation plants.

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