Japan customs-cleared Iran crude imports fall 67 pct in Aug

TOKYO, Sept 27 Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:37pm EDT

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TOKYO, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Japan's customs-cleared imports of crude oil from Iran fell 67.1 percent in August from a year earlier to 418,203 kilolitres (84,852 barrels per day), the lowest since September 1988, Ministry of Finance data showed on Thursday.

Crude importers can seek customs clearance within three months of a cargo's arrival or apply to have the load categorised as "import for storage" and held for up to two years before being cleared.

The industry instead takes trade ministry data due out on Friday as a benchmark because it tracks the actual import status of oil tankers.

Trade ministry data showed that the world's third-biggest oil consumer imported no Iranian crude in July as Japan avoided running afoul of European Union sanctions.

By comparison, finance ministry data showed customs-cleared imports from Iran totalled 624,585 kilolitres (126,726 barrels per day) in July, down 52.5 percent from a year earlier. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim)

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