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China set to take refining top spot

The Asian heavyweight looks poised to knock the US off its perch

Asia is, for several reasons, leading the recovery in global crude demand following the unprecedented shock caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. And, within the region, the speed of recovery in Chinese refining throughput has been nothing short of remarkable. At the height of lockdown measures, global refining throughput fell by nearly 12mn bl/d compared with 2019 levels. Although it has since been on a recovery path, it remains more than 5.5mn bl/d below the previous year. In China, however, crude processing followed a very different path, swiftly recovering after February and remaining higher than the previous year’s levels ever since. Drilling further into the detail, it is worth noting,



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