Asia im­ports of Iran oil more than dou­ble

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Im­ports of crude oil by Iran’s four ma­jor buy­ers in Asia in Novem­ber more than dou­bled for a sec­ond straight month from a year ago, with pur­chases by In­dia and South Korea more than four times higher. Iran’s top four Asian buy­ers - China, In­dia, South Korea and Ja­pan - im­ported 1.94 mil­lion bar­rels per day (bpd) last month, up 117 per­cent on a year ear­lier, gov­ern­ment and ship-track­ing data showed.

That was just short of the 2016 peak of 1.99 mil­lion bpd hit in the pre­vi­ous month, which was the high­est since at least 2010, ac­cord­ing to data by In­ter­na­tional En­ergy Agency. The vol­umes were in line with the OPEC mem­ber’s crude oil and con­den­sate ex­port plans. Iran was ex­empted from last month’s OPEC deal to re­duce out­put by 1.2 mil­lion bpd start­ing Jan. 1, a vic­tory for Tehran which has ar­gued it needs to re­gain the mar­ket share it lost un­der West­ern sanc­tions tar­get­ing its nu­clear pro­gram. In­dus­try sources have said Iran has been of­fer­ing dis­counts to buy­ers in re­turn for in­creas­ing their pur­chases. Iran’s crude oil im­ports cost Ja­pan an av­er­age $45.46 a bar­rel for Novem­ber, which was the third cheap­est af­ter Mex­ico and Oman, cus­toms-cleared trade data by Ja­pan’s Min­istry of Fi­nance showed on Tues­day. Ja­pan’s trade min­istry on Wed­nes­day re­leased of­fi­cial data show­ing its im­ports jumped 41.2 per­cent from a year ear­lier to 237,653 bpd last month.

In­dia’s im­ports grew more than four-fold from a year ear­lier to 620,000 bpd, top­ping China’s im­ports for a third straight month. South Korean im­ports were nearly five times higher at 472,067 bpd. Look­ing ahead, Iran’s crude oil ex­ports in De­cem­ber are set to fall 8 per­cent from Novem­ber to a five-month low, a source with knowl­edge of its pre­lim­i­nary tanker sched­ule said in mid-De­cem­ber, as lower ship­ments to China and oth­ers in Asia off­set bumper ex­ports to Europe.

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