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China In-Focus — Crude imports near 4-year low; Copper imports rise; Snickers maker apologizes for Taiwan advert 

RIYADH: China’s crude oil imports in July fell 9.5 percent from a year earlier, with daily volumes at the second lowest in four years, as refiners drew down inventories and domestic fuel demand recovered more slowly than expected.

The world’s top crude buyer took in 37.33 million tons last month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Sunday, equivalent to 8.79 million barrels per day.

That edged up from June’s 8.72 million bpd, but was down sharply from 9.7 million bpd in July 2021.

Imports for the first seven months totaled 289.84 million tons, or about 9.98 million bpd, down 4 percent versus the same period last year, as extended COVID-19 restrictions and the government’s curbs on fuel exports capped crude purchases.

While independent refiners were running near 70 percent capacity between June and July — up from below 50 percent earlier in the year and mostly processing discounted oil from Russia, Iran and Venezuela — state refiners curbed rates due to thin margins.

The data also showed refined oil product exports rebounded slightly to 3.41 million tons versus 3.21 million tons in June, though they remained 23 percent below the 4.64 million tons from a year earlier.

Gas imports for the first seven months fell 9.6 percent on the year to 62.21 million tons.

China’s July copper imports rise as price slump spurs buying

China’s imports of copper in July rose 9.3 percent from a year earlier, customs data on Sunday showed, as a sharp drop in the price of the metal triggered buying appetite amid falling domestic inventories.

Unwrought copper and copper product imports into China, including anode, refined, alloy and semi-finished copper products, totaled 463,693.8 tons in July, compared with 424,280.3 tons a year earlier.

July’s copper imports, however, were down 13.8 percent from the previous month’s 537,698 tons.

In the first seven months of 2022, China brought in 3.41 million tons of unwrought copper and copper, an increase of 5.8 percent from last year.

The country exported 652,197.9 tons of unwrought aluminum and aluminum products, including primary, alloy and semi-finished aluminum products, in July, up 39.1 percent from 469,030.6 tons last July.

Snickers maker apologizes

Mars Wrigley, makers of the Snickers candy bar, apologized on Friday for a Snickers product launch that Chinese social media users said suggested that Taiwan was a country.

Videos and pictures of an event promoting a limited edition Snickers bar that was said to be only available in the “countries” of South Korea, Malaysia, and Taiwan went viral on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo on Friday.

Mars Wrigley on its Snickers China Weibo account published an apology and said the relevant content had been amended.

(With input from Reuters)