Monday 10 June 2019 2:16 pm

Iran sanctions put dent in Chinese oil imports

Imports to China, the world’s largest buyer of oil, lowered its imports last month as US sanctions on Iran bit.

Chinese imports of crude oil fell eight per cent in May, compared to the month before.

Because May is one day longer than April, this represents a daily drop of 11 per cent.

It comes after the US imposed more restrictive sanctions on Iran.

The US ended a waiver on 2 May which allowed China to keep importing Iranian oil without consequences.

“The main reason for the fall in China’s crude imports is the Iranian imports which fell sharply in May,” said Seng Yick Tee, an analyst at SIA Energy.

The country has replaced some of its Iranian barrels with supplies from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Brazil.

“We see tighter supplies and lower margins for refiners to keep imports lacklustre next month as well,” ANZ analysts said.

However the drop also follows a record-high April when Chinese refineries imported nearly 44m tonnes of crude.

In the first five months of the year imports hit 205m tonnes, a 7.6 per cent rise.

Gas imports were also down slightly month-on-month, but increased year-on year.