China will release crude oil from its national strategic stockpiles around the lunar new year holidays that start on February 1, as part of a plan reportedly coordinated by Washington with other major consumers to reduce fuel prices.
Beijing agreed in late 2021 to release an unspecified amount of oil depending on price levels, sources told Reuters.
“China agreed to release a relatively bigger amount if oil is above $85 a barrel, and a smaller volume if oil stays near the $75 level,” one source said.
The release of crude stocks by China will occur while the country is largely shut down for the biggest annual holiday from January 31 to February 6.
The National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The agreed release of reserves by China is the result of a series of discussions that the US held with other major oil consumers after tight supplies drove global oil prices to multi-year highs. .
US negotiators met close allies including Japan, South Korea and India, as well as with China.
The US has conducted crude swaps and sales from its reserves over the past few weeks, while Japan and South Korea have also announced plans for crude sales.
China, which has long kept details on its reserves a secret, conducted last September its first-ever public crude reserves auction of about 7.4 million barrels, about half a day’s consumption in the country.
• Reuters, with editing by George Russell