Asia's imports of Iranian oil surge to 9-month high

May 31, 2019

TEHRAN - Asia's imports of Iranian oil in April hit a record nine-month high as buyers rushed to ship in purchases before their waivers from U.S. sanctions on Iran expired in May, Reuters reported on Friday citing data from government and trade sources.

Top buyers of Iranian oil in Asia namely China, India, Japan and South Korea imported a total 1.62 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude from Iran in the mentioned month, up 3.2 percent from the previous month to the highest since July.

As reported, China's intakes of Iranian oil in April nearly reached 800,000 bpd, a level not seen since 2014.

South Korea imported about 416,000 bpd to become the second-largest importer of Iranian oil in April.

Japan imports of Iranian oil in the said month also reached over 150,000 barrels per day (bpd), 4.5 times more than the figure for last year’s same time span, data from Japan’s ministry of economy, trade and industry showed.

The Asian country shipped in 676,000 kiloliters or 151,000 bpd of oil in April compared to last April’s 47,000 kiloliters (33,000 bpd).

Japan’s oil imports from Iran dropped 53 percent in April from the previous month. The country shipped in 322,000 bpd of oil from Iran in March.

The United States last year demanded that nations cut all Iranian oil imports when it reimposed sanctions on the country’s petroleum sector on November 4.

However, Washington granted temporary exemptions to some of Iran’s biggest oil clients.

As one of Iran’s top oil buyers, Japan was among the eight countries which received a 180-day waiver from the U.S. to keep importing Iranian oil through May 4. 

Later in April 2019, the Trump administration announced that it would no longer extend the waivers for Iranian oil buyers, namely China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece.

Trump asked all Iranian oil buyers to stop their business associations with the Islamic Republic or face penalty.

EF/MA

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