BEIJING (Reuters) - Russia held its position as China’s top crude oil supplier for the eighth month in a row in October, customs data showed on Friday.
Shipments from Russia in October hit 4.649 million tonnes, or around 1.095 million barrels per day (bpd), according to the detailed breakdown of commodity trade data released by China’s General Administration of Customs. That was 1.9-percent lower than a year earlier and off the record in September at 1.545 million bpd.
Saudi Arabia came a close second, with supplies in October up 16 percent from a year ago at 1.086 million bpd.
For the first 10 months, crude volumes from Russia rose 15.9 percent year-on-year to about 49.65 million tonnes, or 1.19 million bpd.
That comes as CEFC China Energy is set to start lifting ESPO and Sokol cargoes in January from Russian oil giant Rosneft, in an annual deal that will see the private Chinese firm overtake Trafigura as the top trader of Russian oil in Asia.
Third-ranking Angola supplied 45.3 percent more crude oil last month versus a year earlier at 839,840 bpd.
The West African exporter stood as the second-largest supplier, ahead of Saudi Arabia, for the January-October period with total supplies up nearly 18 percent on-year.
Saudi volumes rose less than 1 percent on-year during the same period at about 1.036 million bpd.
Shipments from Iran were down 11.5 percent last month from a year earlier at about 685,150 bpd, while volumes for the first 10 months gained 2.2 percent year-on-year.
Iran is pushing to retain customers for its oil in Asia, hoping that price reductions will boost the appeal of its crude compared with other Middle Eastern supply even as the potential threat of further U.S. sanctions on the country looms.
U.S. shipments to China last month came in 878,623 tonnes, or 206,900 bpd, the second strongest monthly rate since China started importing U.S. crude late last year. Supplies in the January-October period totalled 5.6 million tonnes, or 135,300 bpd.
China’s total crude oil imports slid in October to their lowest monthly level in 13 months, tumbling from a near-record in September.
Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Editing by Christian Schmollinger