China’s gasoline and diesel exports surged in the first two months of the year as domestic fuel demand weakened during the Lunar New Year holidays.

Gasoline exports jumped 63% in January from a year earlier, while shipments in February, which was a leap year, rose around 6%. Diesel exports slipped about 7% in January and climbed 6% in February.

Fuel shipments jumped due to weaker domestic demand leading up to the Lunar New Year when factories and plants shut for a seven-day national holiday, and because export margins improved compared to late last year, according to Yuntao Liu, an analyst T London-based Energy Aspects.

Exports are likely to stay elevated in March on improving global demand. China’s state-owned energy giants PetroChina Co., China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Cnooc and Sinochem Group are planning to export a combined 3.5 million tons of fuel this month, consultant SCI99 said in February.

  • China exported up to 510,000 barrels a day of gasoline in January, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data from General Administration of Customs released Thursday
    • That’s the highest since October last year
    • February exports were at 492,000 barrels a day

  • Diesel exports were at 414,000 barrels a day in January, and 456,000 barrels a day in February