China’s oil demand fell by 2.7% to 10.88 million barrels per day (b/d) in May from a year earlier.
The reduction represented the fourth consecutive month of negative growth and was likely due to GDP growth slowing on the back of economic rebalancing, according to a new report from S&P Global Platts.
This is likely to continue through the year, it adds.
Over the first five months of 2016, oil demand averaged 11.1 million b/d, down 0.8%. In contrast, oil demand increased by 9.1% during the same period last year when lower fuel prices incentivised end users to boost consumption.
Net Chinese imports of key oil products slumped 41.4% from a year earlier to an average 423,000 b/d in May as exports of transport fuels increased.
China’s 2016 oil demand is forecast to grow by less than 2% in 2016.
Exceptionally high oil stocks are likely to cause oil prices to drop in the coming months, according to the International Energy Agency.