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China's MidEast crude imports hit multi-year high in 1Q15, despite March fall


China's imports of crude oil from the Middle East Gulf in 1Q15 hit a multi-year high of 3.6M b/d, according to data from the country's General Administration of Customs. This comes despite a 160K b/d m-o-m fall in China's imports from the region in March to a four-month low of 3.5M b/d (which was still up 451K b/d y-o-y). Imports from the Caribbean and Latin America to China similarly reached a multi-year high in the first quarter of this year, at 787K b/d, with March imports up 47K b/d m-o-m and 140K b/d y-o-y at 794K b/d. Meanwhile, China's imports from West Africa in 1Q15 declined by 98K b/d m-o-m and 89K b/d y-o-y to average 1.1M b/d. This follows softer y-o-y imports in the first two months of the year, with volumes in March (although down 92K b/d m-o-m) up 174K b/d compared with imports in March 2014. Notably, after their strongest month since March 2013 in February, March 2015 crude exports from the Mediterranean to China dropped to a seven-month low of 44K b/d. ��