China needs to change policies to encourage domestic refiners before any return to the booming tanker rates of 2020, industry body Bimco said on Thursday.

China’s crude oil imports hit a four-year low in July because of Covid-19 lockdowns, economic woes and policies that discourage refiners from boosting demand, it said.

The world’s largest crude importer was responsible for 30% of dirty tanker trade tonne-miles in 2021.