BEIJING, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, imported 271 million tonnes of crude oil last year, a rise of 6.8 percent year on year, as demand remained high despite an economic slowdown, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
The value of the imports jumped 12.1 percent year on year to 220.67 billion U.S. dollars last year due to surging prices, according to the data.
Analysts have predicted a higher reliance on imported oil in the years to come, as China is still in a phase of rapid urbanization and industrialization.
Crude imports are likely to reach around 285 million tonnes in 2013, with the country's crude import dependence rate exceeding 60 percent, said Cheng Ruifeng, an analyst at Oilgas.com.
Two-thirds of China's oil demand will depend on the overseas market by 2020, according to Zhong Ren, assistant to the president of oil giant Sinopec Group.
With global monetary easing sparking investors' purchasing demand, crude prices are expected to go up further in 2013, which will boost domestic inflation and push up costs for Chinese importers, analysts said.