Dec 15 (Reuters) - Widespread diesel shortages are hitting southern China, with many filling stations posting “no diesel” signs ahead of high seasonal demand, the China Review News reported on its website.
The newspaper reported long queues at filling stations along the expressway linking Beijing and Hong Kong, while in the southeastern province of Zhejiang, a line of trucks awaiting fuel at a gas station stretched for 2 km.
Supplies of diesel, the country’s main transportation fuel, have been tight in some regions for several months as refiners throttled back output in the face of refining losses and because of maintenance. Sporadic diesel shortages spread after the government reduced gasoline and diesel prices on Oct. 9.
The government’s tight grip on domestic fuel prices distorts demand and often leads energy companies to reduce supplies to limit their losses.
Implied oil demand last month increased to the second highest level in history, as refiners in the world’s second-largest oil consumer ramped up production to record high levels in response to the diesel shortage.
China’s top two refiners, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) and PetroChina Co Ltd , said in late October that they would raise crude runs and increase imports as diesel shortages spread.
Hong Kong-listed shares of Sinopec were down 1.4 percent in early trading on Thursday, while PetroChina fell 3.1 percent compared with a 2.1 percent fall in the broader market. (Reporting By Sisi Tang in HONG KONG)