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Chinese buyers reduced oil imports from Iran in April: Report

Oil and gas tanks are seen at an oil warehouse at a port in Zhuhai, China October 22, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

Private crude refiners in China reduced their imports of oil from Iran in April because of lower demand as a result of coronavirus lockdowns and also an increase in the supply of cheap crude from Russia.

The Monday report y Reuters news agency cited figures from international analytics companies showing that China’s imports of Iranian oil had declined at least by 7% in April compared to figures reported in March.

The report said that private Chinese buyers of Iranian crude had preferred the heavily discounted Russian oil to cargoes from Iran in April as they sought to increase their margins.

Russia has ramped up oil exports to China to offset lower sales to Europe as a result of sanctions imposed by the West over the military conflict Ukraine.

Figures by Vortexa Analytics showed that Iranian oil imports into China reached 650,000 barrels per day in April, down from nearly 700,000 bpd reported in the previous month, said the Reuters report.

It also cited tentative figures from Kpler which showed that April volumes of China’s oil imports from Iran had declined to 575,000 bpd. The analytics firm had reported 840,000 bpd of Chinese oil imports from Iran in the first quarter of 2022.

However, the report said that private Chinese refiners had raised their imports of Russian crude by 16% in April to 860,000 bpd, according to data by Refinitiv, a major international analytics company.

It claimed that Russia’s exports of crude to China are expected to increase as the country has offered its Urals crude cargoes to Chinese buyers at a discount of $6 to $7 a barrel against Brent for June delivery.

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