Dec 7 (Reuters) - China's crude oil imports in November fell 9.2% year-on-year, customs data showed on Thursday, in first annual decline since April as high inventory levels, weak economic indicators and slowing orders from independent refiners weakened demand.
Crude oil arrivals last month into China totalled 42.445 million metric tons, or 10.33 million barrels per day (bpd), according to the General Administration of Customs, the lowest daily rate since July and down from 11.53 million bpd in October.
Year-to-date imports by the world's largest oil buyer amounted to 515.65 million tons, or 11.27 million bpd, an increase of 12.1% from a year earlier.
High import levels through the year so far have left refiners with large onshore crude inventories at the start of the month, estimated at 958 million barrels as of Nov. 2, according to commodities consultancy Vortexa.
Despite price declines in key international crude benchmarks through November, independent 'teapot' refiners in Shandong continued to face stiff competition for Russian cargoes as well as cargoes from Venezuela following the relaxation of U.S. sanctions on Caracas, with buyers facing wide discrepancies in offer prices.
Weak macroeconomic indicators - most evident in the manufacturing and construction sectors - have continued to weigh on demand for products such as diesel and asphalt. China's manufacturing PMI shrank for the second consecutive month in November, reflecting weakening confidence in government stimulus measures among factory managers.
Underscoring concerns over the real estate and construction sectors, ratings agency Moody's on Tuesday put China's credit rating on downgrade warning, citing risks associated to the "ongoing downsizing of the property sector".
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(Reporting by Andrew Hayley and Chen Aizhu; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)