China's exports of marine fuel oil fell 32% in March from a year earlier to 1.32 million metric tons, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Saturday. The exports are measured mostly by sales from bonded storage for vessels plying international routes.

The March volume was 12% higher than the 1.17 million tons shipped out in February. Stronger volumes emerged as bunker prices at key Chinese ports like Zhoushan and Shanghai were lower than prices at regional hub Singapore in March, which drew some demand, industry sources said. Export volumes for bunkering in the first quarter totalled 4.16 million tons, 11.9% lower than the same period in 2023. Import volumes for March were at 1.98 million tons, down 19% from the same month last year. The import volumes included purchases under ordinary trade, which are subject to import duty and consumption tax, as well as imports into bonded storage. First quarter fuel oil imports totalled 5.57 million tons, climbing 3.3% compared to the first quarter in 2023.

The year-on-year quarterly rise came despite demand for refining feedstock easing amid suppressed refining margins. The tables below show China's fuel oil exports and imports in metric tons. The exports section largely captures China's low sulphur oil bunkering sales along its coast. Exports Bonded storage yr/yr %change Jan 1,674,002 33% Feb 1,173,447 -24% Mar 1,315,242 -32% Imports Ordinary Bonded Total y/y % trade storage change trade Jan 737,451 1,414,318 2,151,769 78% Feb 599,867 842,089 1,441,956 -18% Mar 727,674 1,250,129 1,977,803 -19% (Figures are based on latest available data at the time of publishing, and may be subject to revision by China customs at a later date) (Reporting by Jeslyn Lerh and Amy Lv; Editing by Sharon Singleton)