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Asia’s August Iran oil imports hit 2-month low, set to drop further

Imports of Iranian crude oil by major buyers in Asia hit a two-month low in August, hurt by a more than 80 per cent plunge in South Korean purchases ahead of upcoming US sanctions on Tehran, government and ship-tracking data showed.
China, India, Japan and South Korea last month imported 1.57 million barrels per day (bpd) from Iran, according to the data.
That was down 4.1 per cent from August 2017, and marked a decline of about 300,000 bpd from the previous month.
Overall purchases of crude from Iran by the four countries are expected to drop further in coming months. Washington is pushing allies to cut Iranian oil imports to zero once the US sanctions kick in on November 4.
Japan has joined South Korea in temporarily halting Iranian oil loadings as it remains unclear whether the US administration will grant Tokyo an exemption from the sanctions, the head of the country’s refinery association said last week.
Exports of Iranian crude oil and condensates have declined by 0.8 million bpd from April to September 2018, the Institute of International Finance said on Tuesday.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and other oil producers are considering raising output by 500,000 bpd to counter falling supply from Iran.
South Korean August imports slumped 84.2 per cent to 64,516 bpd. The country halted all shipments of Iranian oil from July for the first time in six years, sources said.
That outweighed a 65.3 per cent jump in Japan’s imports to 177,475 bpd in August, trade ministry data showed on Friday, before the country’s refiners halted loadings.
China’s imports of Iranian crude rose 2.3 per cent in August from a year ago to 804,839 bpd, according to oil flow data on Thomson Reuters Eikon. China earlier this year halted the release of country breakdowns for its crude imports.
Meanwhile India’s August imports from Iran jumped 55.9 per cent from last year to 522,900 bpd. India is committed to buying Iranian oil and continuing the two nations’ economic cooperation, the Iranian foreign minister said on Thursday.
The tables below outline Iran crude imports in bpd by Asia’s biggest buyers for last month and the year to date:
Nation Aug-18 Aug-17 yr/yr %
China 804,839 786,720 2.3
India 522,900 335,400 55.9
Japan 177,475 107,357 65.3
Korea 64,516 407,323 -84.2
Total 1,569,730 1,636,800 -4.1
Nation Jan-Aug 2018 Jan-Aug 2017 yr/yr %
China 666,793 609,886 9.3
India 600,400 497,600 20.7
Japan 166,890 159,196 4.8
Korea 239,514 413,337 -42.1
Total 1,673,597 1,680,019 -0.4

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