China’s National Bureau of Statistics has published its finalised data for December. Refinery throughput was confirmed at 9.8mmb/d in December, up 0.1mmb/d (+1.2%) MoM but down 0.3mmb/d (-2.6%) YoY. For FY13, refinery throughput averaged 9.7mmb/d, up 0.4mmb/d or 4.4% YoY. Implied demand, calculated as refinery throughput plus net product imports, averaged 9.8mmb/d in FY13, up 0.3mmb/d (+3.0%) YoY. Crude production in December remained around 4.2mmb/d, flat MoM and YoY. During 2013, China increased domestic production 0.1mmb/d (+1.9%) to average 4.2mmb/d. With crude imports increasing 0.2mmb/d (+4.3%) YoY to 5.6mmb/d, implied demand, calculated as crude production plus net crude and product imports, averaged 9.9mmb/d FY13, up 0.2mmb/d (+2.1%) YoY. The growth in demand in 2013 is comparable with the 0.3mmb/d (+3.1%) YoY growth the IEA has pencilled in to its latest estimates. The higher
Net managed money futures and options positions on the ICE in Brent, regarded as the most directionally driven speculative category, rose 5.4%, or 4,657 positions to 90,315 positions, in the week ended 21 January. Speculative net longs dropped to a
On the other side of the Atlantic, net managed money futures and options positions on NYMEX in WTI were essentially flat WoW at 230,503 positions. WTI closed the week ended 21 January up USD 2.40/bbl (+2.6%) WoW to USD 94.99/bbl, taking the discount to Brent to USD 11.74/bbl.
Also in the US, the bitterly cold winter has led to record withdrawals from gas storage, taking storage levels below the bottom of the seasonal range for two weeks in a row. That has resulted in a jump in natural gas prices with the Henry Hub price jumping above USD 5/mmbtu on Friday (USD 177/kcm) — the first time that has happened since June 2010.