July 31, 2017 / 7:11 AM / 2 years ago

Asian imports of Iranian oil hit 14-month low

    * Asia imports 1.46 mln bpd in June, down 15.2 pct yr/yr
    * Japan imports tumble 51 pct yr/yr; China imports down 33.8
pct
    * Jan-June Asia imports average 1.71 mln bpd, up 21.3 pct
yr/yr

    By Osamu Tsukimori
    TOKYO, July 31 (Reuters) - Imports of Iranian crude by major
buyers in Asia fell for a second month in a row to a 14-month
low in June, weighed down by sluggish purchases by China and
Japan.
    It is the first time that import volumes of Iranian crude by
Asia's four main buyers have fallen for two straight months
since Western sanctions against Tehran were lifted in January
last year, leading to a spike in shipments.
    China, India, South Korea and Japan together imported 1.46
million barrels per day (bpd) last month, down 15.2 percent on a
year ago and the lowest amount since 1.32 million bpd in April
last year, government and ship-tracking data showed.
    The fall comes as Iran aims to raise oil output to around 4
million barrels per day by the end of the year from around 3.8
million bpd in recent months, and increases shipments to Europe.
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    For the first six months of 2017, purchases by Asia's main
buyers were still up 21 percent on a year ago at 1.71 mln bpd.
    Iran was exempted from an agreement by the Organization of
the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to reduce output by 1.2
million bpd, a victory for Tehran which has argued it needs to
regain the market share it lost under Western sanctions over its
disputed nuclear programme.
    The latest data showed India's imports of Iranian crude rose
more than 30 percent in the first three months of India's
financial year in April-June.
     Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in mid-July that
India's state refiners plan to buy less Iranian oil in 2017/18
compared with the last fiscal year due to commercial and
operational considerations.
    Japan's trade ministry on Monday released official data
showing its Iranian imports fell for a second straight month
last month.
    NITC, Iran's leading oil tanker operator, said this month
its shipments to Europe were increasing daily and the company
plans to upgrade its fleet to support expansion.   
    The following tables show Asia's Iran crude imports in bpd
for last month and the year to date. 
    
 Nation       Jun-17      Jun-16  yr/yr pct
  China     516,119     780,175       -33.8
  India     495,900     381,500        30.0
  Japan     134,831     275,233       -51.0
  Korea     310,167     280,600        10.5
  Total   1,457,017   1,717,508       -15.2
 
 Nation  Jan-June 2017  Jan-June 2016  yr/yr pct
  China       586,576        600,608        -2.3
  India       539,500        341,900        57.8
  Japan       166,652        205,871       -19.1
  Korea       421,972        264,852        59.3
  Total     1,714,700      1,413,231        21.3
 
    
 (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Richard Pullin)
  
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