China Oct refinery throughput up 6 pct yr/yr

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BEIJING, Nov 15 (Reuters) China's refiners trimmed processing in October from the previous month, data showed on Thursday, as global crude prices climbed to records and worsened losses from selling into the price-controlled domestic market.

The world's number-two oil consumer refined 27.61 million tonnes of crude oil in October or 6.50 million barrels per day, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

This was 6.0 percent more than in the same month a year earlier, but on a daily basis edged 1 percent below September levels, in line with a Reuters survey of top plants.

Many refiners extended off-season maintenance from September in a bid to evade government requests to guarantee supplies, as diesel shortages snowballed into the country's worst fuel crisis in four years with rationing even in the capital and Shanghai.

Output of price-controlled diesel and gasoline also grew at under 5 percent in October, with more profitable products like kerosene, LPG and lubricating oil taking a larger share of production.

And output of fuel oil, used by many small independent refiners as feedstock, fell nearly 4 percent.

Many of these plants, which are subject to less government pressure to produce and do not show up in most official data on output, retreated from the market as margins ploughed further into the red, removing a key source of supply.

Beijing eventually bowed to market pressure and raised prices 10 percent from Nov. 1, but refiners say that with international markets stuck over a barrel , the first increase in 17 months was not enough to push them back into the black.

In the first 10 months crude throughput rose a stronger 6.6 percent from a year earlier, to 269.93 million tonnes.

The world's sixth largest oil producer, but battling decline at many of its key east coast fields, China still managed to coax an extra 1.9 percent of crude from its fields in October, pumping 15.81 million tonnes. Output for the January-to-October period climbed 1.4 percent to 155.73 million tonnes.


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