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Wed, Jan 22, 2003 - Page 12 News List

China's thirst for crude oil up as its economy expands


China's crude oil imports rose 15 percent in last year because of robust economic growth and increased demand for gasoline as more Chinese drove family cars, oil industry officials in Beijing said

China bought 69.4 million tonnes of foreign crude oil last year, up from 60.26 million tonnes in 2001, according to fresh annual official customs data released in Beijing yesterday.

"The main reason behind the import rise is the strong gross domestic product growth and high demand arising from the growing number of family cars," said an official at one of the country's four designated state oil traders in Beijing.

The increase in oil imports last year pushed China's import level toward its peak of 70 million tonnes, reached in 2000.

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