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China's March diesel, jet fuel exports rise, LNG imports decline

SINGAPORE, April 23 (Reuters) - China's jet fuel exports surged 30 percent from a year earlier in March and diesel exports rose 14.2 percent, customs data showed on Tuesday, as the country's fuel surplus increased following the start up of a new private oil refinery.

Data from the General Administration of Customs showed diesel exports last month rose to 2.71 million tonnes and nearly doubled from 1.51 million tonnes in February.

China also boosted exports of jet fuel last month to 1.74 million tonnes, the data showed.

Gasoline exports last month were 1.69 million tonnes, compared to 1.7 million tonnes in March last year and 550,000 tonnes in February, the customs data showed.

Total refined fuel exports last month reached the highest since at least 2012 at 7.21 million tonnes, as the privately-run 400,000 barrels-per-day refinery operated by Hengli Petrochemicals reached full commercial operations.

The exports were also buoyed by higher government quotas issued for 2019.

Imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in March eased to 4.06 million tonnes, the customs data showed. That is down from 4.35 million tonnes in February and a record 6.58 million tonnes in January, following the end of heating demand in mid-March.

March imports were 25 percent higher than a year earlier.

China is the world's second-biggest LNG buyer after Japan. (Reporting by Chen Aizhu; editing by Christian Schmollinger)