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China September Crude Import by Source

Oil

China’s combined crude oil imports from the Caribbean and Latin America dropped 107K b/d m-o-m to 1.23M b/d in September, as a 200K b/d fall in imports from Venezuela to a 9-year low of 144K b/d offset smaller gains from Brazil (+165K b/d m-o-m) and Mexico (+17K b/d m-o-m), customs data show. Imports from West Africa recovered to 1.34M b/d, up from an 11-month low of 1.28M b/d in August, while those from the North Sea (UK, Norway, Netherlands, Finland) rose to their highest levels since March 2017 at 359K b/d. Arrivals from the US stood at a 5-month low of 127K b/d, down 128K b/d y-o-y.

Meanwhile, China continued to import Iranian crude in September, albeit at a reduced rate of just 132K b/d, down 389K b/d y-o-y and the lowest monthly level since at least September 2008 (when SSY began collating crude import by source data). By contrast, imports from Saudi Arabia surged 827K b/d y-o-y to 1.75M b/d, which was the third highest level on record. The Kingdom remained China’s top crude supplier in September, as well as during the first nine months of the year. At 4.54M b/d, overall imports from the Middle East were down 169K b/d m-o-m but still 282K b/d higher y-o-y.

Total crude imports into China in September stood at a 5-month high of 10.08M b/d, up 984K b/d y-o-y.

By early afternoon in London, ICE Brent was trading at $61.68/bbl, up $0.51/bbl from the end of Thursday’s trading.