China’s oil imports from Iran shrink in first half
BEIJING - Reuters
China’s daily oil imports from Iran fell 1.9 percent in the first half of 2013. DHA photoChina’s daily crude oil imports from Iran fell 1.9 percent in the first half of the year from the same period in 2012, making it easier for it to stake a claim later to a waiver extension on U.S. sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation.
Countries that import Iranian oil must make steady reductions in their volumes to continue to receive six-month exemptions from the U.S. sanctions aimed at cutting off Iran’s oil revenues and bringing it to the negotiating table.
China won a six-month waiver in June, along with other Asian importers of Iranian crude, and officials have said Chinese refiners would likely cut Iran shipments 5-10 percent this year from last. China’s next waiver review is due November-December.
The drop in the first-half volumes came on top of a 21 percent cut in China’s purchases from Tehran in the first half of last year. A contract dispute had slashed Iranian oil shipments in the first quarter of 2012.
June volumes imported from Iran were also sharply down compared with the same month last year and from May imports.
China is Iran’s largest oil client, brought in 424,183 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian crude in the first six months of the year, data from the General Administration of Customs showed yesterday.
Compared with the second half of 2012, Chinese imports in the first six months of this year were down 4.6 percent, Reuters calculations based on customs data showed.