China processed a lower volume of crude in April as refiners shut operations to conduct planned seasonal maintenance.

The Asian nation refined 58.79 million tons of crude last month, almost 4% lower than the same period last year, data released by the government show. That’s equivalent to 14.36 million barrels a day, the lowest since December.

China’s state-run processors are expected to shut 18% more refining capacity for work this year, with the peak maintenance period to fall between April and June, according to data provider Mysteel OilChem. Apparent oil demand fell 3% last month, the first year-on-year decline since December 2022, according to Bloomberg calculations based on the government figures.

Fuel demand is showing weakness, especially for diesel as industrial activity slows and oil-to-gas switching in trucking gathers momentum. Operating rates for Chinese state refineries fell to 75.57% of capacity in the week to May 16, the lowest since mid-December, according to OilChem.