Oil Report

Asia's monthly Iran oil imports skid to lowest in Nov since Apr 2016

    * Asia Nov imports fall to 1.36 mln bpd, down 29 pct on year
    * India imports decline 55 pct on year
    * Japan imports fall nearly 19 pct on year

    By Osamu Tsukimori
    TOKYO, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Imports of Iranian crude oil by
major buyers in Asia tumbled 29 percent in November from the
same month a year ago to the lowest volumes since April 2016,
government and ship-tracking data showed. 
    In total, China, India, Japan and South Korea imported 1.36
million barrels per day (bpd) last month from Iran, the data
showed. The drop comes after imports hit highs earlier this year
and last when Tehran ramped up exports after the lifting of
sanctions that had targeted its disputed nuclear programme. 
    The slowdown had been expected, as oil loadings bound for
Asia fell below 1.5 million bpd in October, a person with
knowledge of Iran's tanker schedules had told Reuters.
    Tehran is pushing to retain its prized Asian customers,
hoping price reductions will boost the appeal of its crude
compared with other Middle Eastern grades even as the potential
threat of a renewal of U.S. sanctions looms.
    China, the biggest buyer, purchased 8.8 percent less oil
from Iran year-on-year, taking around 557,900 bpd.
    Meanwhile India's refiners cut Iranian oil imports by more
than half in November, ship tracking data showed, squeezing them
to a 21-month low in protest at Tehran's decision to award a
giant gas field to a Russian company.
    Imports to Japan were down 19 percent from a year earlier to
193,141 barrels per day, data released by the Ministry of
Economy, Trade and Industry showed on Thursday.
    The tables below outline Iran crude imports in bpd by Asia's
biggest buyers for last month and year-to-date. 
  Nation     Nov-17       Nov-16  yr/yr pct
   China   557,876      611,338        -8.8
   India   265,700      588,700       -54.9
   Japan   193,141      237,653       -18.7
   Korea   345,700      472,067       -26.8
   Total  1,362,417   1,909,758       -28.7
  Nation  Jan-Nov 2017   Jan-Nov 2016  yr/yr pct
   China      627,862        618,202         1.6
   India      466,600        466,100         0.1
   Japan      167,897        225,374       -25.5
   Korea      416,650        296,182        40.7
   Total    1,679,009      1,605,858         4.6

 (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)