April 14 (UPI) -- Amid signs of growing demand for oil and petroleum products, China's Finance Ministry reported fiscal revenue rose 14.1 percent in the first quarter.
The official Xinhua News Agency reports government estimates of $645.9 billion in fiscal revenue during the first quarter, a gain of 14.1 percent year-over-year. Growth retreated in the first two months of the year, though fiscal revenue improved year-over-year by 12.2 percent in March.
"The ministry attributed the rapid growth to rising prices at the factory gate, a firming economy, and recovering exports and imports," Xinhua reported.
Chinese economic growth is picking up steam. Economists at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reported in their market report for April that full-year growth is moderating from 6.7 percent last year to an estimated 6.3 percent, though that still outpaces most other major economies, apart from India.
OPEC economists said China posted a trade surplus of $51.4 billion, with exports from China declining 1.3 percent against a 38.1 percent year-on-year increase in imports in February.
"It was the fastest increase since early 2012, driven by strong demand for commodities from iron ore to crude oil and coal," OPEC reported.
According to pricing agency S&P Global Platts, China's oil demand is up 5.3 percent year-over-year because of the infusion into oil storage tanks, a boost in holiday travel and "robust" economic growth.
Lower crude oil prices have bruised parts of China's energy sector. Last month, China National Offshore Oil Corp. turned in one of its worst performances in five years with oil and gas revenues down 17 percent from 2015.