• 22 November 2018 - 14:00
  • News Code: 93901

China’s oil imports from Iran increased by 4.1 percent annually to average 631,556 bpd between January and September, and Tehran was the fifth-largest oil supplier to the world’s top oil importer, official Chinese data shows.

After somewhat reduced import volumes in September, China’s oil intake in October and November is seen rebounding, according to trade flow data from S&P Global Platts.

Yet, S&P Global Platts trade tracking shows that Chinese imports from Iran were 599,000 bpd in October and could reach 646,000 bpd in November. Many of the October and November barrels are bound for the Liaoning province, where refiners don’t typically process Iranian crude, but where the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has leased some storage capacity, according to Platts data.

China’s total crude oil imports in October hit a record-high, beating the previous all-time high set in April this year, according to official Chinese data. The breakdown by countries is expected to be provided later this month, but preliminary trade flow data shows that the all-time high

October imports were driven by two key factors—high intake from China’s independent refiners and high volume of Iranian imports just before the U.S. sanctions snapped and before there was any clarity over the waivers.

While Chinese demand for Iranian oil is expected to remain steady by the end of the year at least, demand for oil from another top 10 Chinese supplier—the United States—is plunging, due to the U.S.-China trade war. Despite the fact that U.S. crude oil is not on China’s tariff list, Chinese appetite for American crude oil has significantly waned since July.

According to EIA data, the U.S. didn’t export any crude oil to China in August, compared to 384,000 bpd in July and a record-high 510,000 bpd in June.



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