January 31, 2018 / 6:41 AM / a year ago

Asia's oil imports from Iran fall over 16 pct on-year in Dec

    * Asia Dec imports drop to 1.58 mln bpd, down 16.3 pct
    * China imports slip 17.2 pct on-yr, Japan shipments fall
11.2 pct
    * Asia's 2017 imports rise 2.5 pct to 1.67 mln bpd

    By Osamu Tsukimori
    TOKYO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Imports of Iranian crude oil by
major buyers in Asia fell 16.3 percent in December from the year
before, government and ship-tracking data showed.
    The decline comes despite a push by Tehran to retain its
prized Asian customers through price reductions in the face of a
potential renewal of U.S. sanctions over its nuclear programme.

    In total, China, India, Japan and South Korea imported 1.58
million barrels per day (bpd) last month from Iran, the data
showed. They brought in 1.67 million bpd over the whole of 2017,
up 2.5 percent from the year before.
    President Donald Trump has threatened the United States
would quit a 2015 deal among world powers to curb Iran's nuclear
programme if "disastrous flaws" were not fixed.
    Amir Zamaninia, Iran's deputy oil minister for trade and
international affairs, said last Thursday at a conference in
Tokyo that the nation was in full compliance with its
obligations under the deal.
    December oil purchases by top buyer China fell 17.2 percent
from the previous year to 571,275 bpd in December, while India's
imports declined 6.2 percent, although that marked the highest
in nine months, ship tracking data showed.
    Imports to Japan were down 11.2 percent from a year earlier
at 218,757 bpd, showed data released by the Ministry of Economy,
Trade and Industry on Wednesday.
    The tables below outline Iran crude imports in bpd by Asia's
biggest buyers for last month and for all of 2017:

   Nation      Dec-17       Dec-16   yr/yr pct
    China    571,275      689,530        -17.2
    India    512,900      546,600         -6.2
    Japan    218,757      246,243        -11.2
    Korea    281,032      410,387        -31.5
    Total  1,583,964    1,892,760        -16.3
  Nation  Jan-Dec 2017  Jan-Dec 2016   yr/yr pct
   China      623,075       624,243         -0.2
   India      470,500       472,900         -0.5
   Japan      172,216       227,142        -24.2
   Korea      405,132       305,852         32.5
   Total    1,670,923     1,630,137          2.5

 (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Joseph Radford)
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