China’s Iranian oil intakes skyrocket in April: report

May 31, 2019

TEHRAN – China has significantly increased its imports of Iranian crude in the last month before the expiration of U.S. sanctions waivers, Sputnik reported on Thursday citing Business Times.

According to the information from China’s customs administration, Beijing shipped in 3.24 million tons of Iranian oil in April, 21 percent more than that of the last year’s same month, and a four percent rise compared to March 2019.

The news comes amid a report by The Wall Street Journal saying that China has complied with the U.S. sanctions and stopped purchasing crude from Iran following the end of Washington's waivers. 

However, Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Amir Hossein Zamaninia stated on May 5 that the country is planning to continue selling its oil in a "grey market" even after the expiration of the U.S. waivers.

The U.S. granted waivers to eight countries buying Iranian oil - China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey after imposing sanctions on Tehran's energy, banking and shipping sectors in November 2018. 

In April 2019, Washington announced that it wouldn’t extend the waivers, with the expressed aim to drive Iran’s oil exports down to "zero".

In early May, Chinese Commerce Ministry announced the country’s opposition to unilateral U.S. sanctions against Iran, saying that cutting Iranian oil supplies will only worsen volatility in global energy markets.

China is Iran’s largest oil customer with imports of 475,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the first quarter of this year, according to Chinese customs data.

EF/MA

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