OREANDA-NEWS. April 18, 2014. China's demand for refined oil products was up 2.6% year-on-year in 2013, the slowest growth pace in 5 years, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The slump comes amid an ongoing economic slowdown, which last year saw GDP notch its slowest annual rate of increase since 1999.

In terms of foreign trade, net imports/exports of major oil products (diesel, gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil) contracted in 2013 relative to the prior year. In the second half of 2013, biodiesel imports increased considerably as traders hit the brakes on diesel shipments into the country.

Looking toward possible mid-term trends, estimates from the International Energy Agency show China's oil demand increasing by 350,000 barrels per day annually over the period between 2011 and 2015, with motor vehicle gasoline accounting for roughly half of this rise.