BEIJING: Iran’s top two oil customers China and India have boosted imports in January, taking in close to the total volume it is permitted to sell to all buyers following the recent easing of sanctions.
The jumps indicate Iran’s total sales in January to its four biggest buyers topped the one million barrels per day (bpd) level at which world powers want to keep shipments capped to maintain pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear programme.
China, Iran’s largest oil client, imported 564,536 bpd of the crude last month, up 82 per cent versus the same month last year, data from the General Administration of Customs showed yesterday.
The January imports from Iran were 11.2pc higher than December’s 507,707 bpd.
For 2014, China may buy more Iranian oil as state-run trader Zhuhai Zhenrong Corporation is negotiating a new condensate contract.
India’s imports from Iran more than doubled in January compared with a month earlier, hitting their highest since February 2012, with one state refiner returning from a three-month break as a buyer.
India’s oil purchase from Iran in January surged to 412,000 bpd, up from 189,100 bpd in December and 44pc higher than a year ago.
The big jump last month brings India’s imports from Iran over April-January to about 201,000 bpd, still a decline of 26pc from the same 10 months a year earlier.
That’s below a target of 220,000 bpd for the fiscal year that ends on March 31.
Adding in South Korean imports in January of about 65,000 bpd, Asian buys from Iran have already topped 1 million bpd, with Japan’s data not due for another week.
Asian buyers – China, India, Japan and South Korea – together cut their purchases of Iranian crude by 15pc in 2013 to an average of 935,862 bpd in 2013.
By Gulf Daily
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