April 29, 2020 / 10:39 AM / a month ago

Sinopec's fuel sales rebound, but records biggest quarterly loss in first quarter

BEIJING/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) said on Thursday its daily sales of refined oil products have resumed to more than 90% of levels seen before the coronavirus outbreak, after it announced the worst quarterly loss on record a day earlier.

FILE PHOTO: The company logo of China’s Sinopec Corp is displayed at a news conference in Hong Kong, China March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Diesel sales match the level of a year ago, while sales of gasoline have rebounded to 90% and petrochemical products to 86%, of the levels seen last year.

“Fuel and chemical products consumption is expected to further improve with the acceleration of production resumption at companies in China. Supply and demand will be balanced again,” the company said in a statement.

On Wednesday, the listed branch of Sinopec (600028.SS) (0386.HK) on reported a 19.782 billion yuan ($2.80 billion) net loss in first-quarter earnings under Chinese accounting standards, as the coronavirus pandemic walloped fuel consumption and led to collapsing oil prices.

That was the state-owned oil company’s first quarterly loss since the fourth quarter of 2014 and was the biggest quarterly loss since it went public in 2003, according to Refinitiv Eikon’s records.

The loss compared with net profits in the first quarter of 2019 of 14.76 billion yuan and 14.31 billion yuan in the fourth quarter last year.

Sinopec said its refinery throughput fell 13% year-on-year to 53.74 million tonnes, or about 4.31 million barrels per day (bpd), as the coronavirus curtailed demand for refined oil products.

Its oil refining sector suffered a 25.8 billion yuan loss in the first three months of 2020.

The company said last month it expected lower refining runs for the full year of 2020, but for refined oil consumption to return to normal in the third and fourth quarters.

Utilisation rates at its refineries have been resuming after touching as low as 66% in February.

Crude oil production in the first quarter at Sinopec dipped 0.2% from a year earlier to 70.65 million barrels, while natural gas output fell 2.4% to 249.68 billion cubic feet.

Its realised crude oil prices were $49.15 per barrel, down 14.8% on year, following the drop in global oil prices triggered by a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Realised natural gas prices were $6.43 per thousand cubic feet, down 9.2% from a year ago, it reported.

Reporting by Muyu Xu in Beijing and Chen Aizhu in Singapore; Editing by Alex Richardson and Jacqueline Wong

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