China bought record volumes of oil from Russia in June despite discount cuts

BEIJING, July 20 (Reuters) – Russian oil imports to China hit a record high in June, according to Chinese government data released on Thursday. Refineries continue to buy Russian ESPO blend even as discount to international benchmarks has fallen. In June, the volume of deliveries from Russia amounted to 10.50 million tonnes, or 2.56 million barrels per day. According to the Central Customs Office of the People’s Republic of China, the volume increased by 44% compared to the same month last year. In the first half of the year, supplies of Russian oil to China amounted to 52.61 million tons, an increase of 22% year on year. Shipments from Saudi Arabia to China totaled 7.92 million tons or 1.93 million barrels per day in June, up 12% from a month earlier and 57% from June 2022. Discount on ESPO blend for June delivery decreased to $5.50 a barrel compared to ICE Brent benchmark from $8.50 in March. Chinese customs data also showed that oil imports from Malaysia totaled 1.51 million barrels a day in June, up 133% from the same period last year. Malaysia is often used as an intermediate point for deliveries of sanctioned shipments from Iran and Venezuela. Total U.S. oil shipments to China reached 3.05 million tons in June, the highest since December 2020. Chinese refiners are expected to increasingly rely on alternative suppliers such as Brazil in the third quarter after Russia and Saudi Arabia decided to cut production. Reuters provides trade details with volumes in millions of metric tons and percentage changes as follows: Country Volume (in millions of total changes from change from MT YTD tons) Years % Russia 10.50 44.1% 52.61 21.6% Saudi Arabia 7.92 56.6% 46.52 12.6% Arabia Malaysia 6.19 133.1% 2 5.8 0 132.8% Iraq 4 0.09 27.8% 29.53 10.4% UAE 4.07 30.4% 21.51 10.7% Brazil 3.38 68.4% 18.46 42.0% Oman 3.12 50.6% 19.56 -7.0% USA 3.05 353.8% 8.77 96.9% Kuwait 1.97 -6.3% 12.65 -26.2% Angola 1.85 -21.4% 12.80 -25.5% Iran 0.00 -100.0% 0.00 -100.0% Venezuela 0.00 no data 0.00 no data Tomasz Kanik, edited by Anna Kozlova)


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